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Proper planning can avoid child custody fight over embryos

For some Texas spouses, fertility issues, health problems or personal preferences can make surrogacy a very appealing prospect. Once embryos are created and stored, however, there is a risk of a child custody case if the parties decide to go their separate ways. That is made clear in the ongoing high profile child custody battle between actress Sophia Vergara and her former partner Nick Loeb. 

The couple created two frozen embryos in 2013 with the intent to use a surrogate to bring them to term. By 2014, however, the pair had parted, and Loeb asked a court to grant him the right to use the embryos to have a child. He dropped that case, but then moved the matter to a state with more "pro-life" support. 

The case has been through various courts, with Vergara asking the matter to be heard at the federal level. The state court is now set to hear the matter, although Vergara is expected to ask for reconsideration. While this legal wrangling is certainly complicated, the jurisdiction that will hear the matter is important, as state laws differ on how to approach embryos as opposed to living children. 

There is no word on whether Loeb plans to pursue Vergara for child support if he is able to use their embryos to bring one or two children into the world. However, it's easy to see how a estranged partner would be distressed to have her genetic material used to create a child with someone she no longer has a relationship with. As the courts continue to address the child custody case, it's likely that Texas readers will understand the importance of taking legal precautions to avoid this type of dispute.  

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