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(Reuters) - The ex-fiance of actress Sofia Vergara, one of the stars of the hit ABC comedy "Modern Family", has defended his lawsuit seeking to take two frozen embryos the couple created before separating.
In a New York Times column published Wednesday, businessman Nick Loeb said that after the pair split in 2014, he sought to take the embryos to have them carried to term - assuming all financial and custodial responsibility - but she refused.
"When we create embryos for the purpose of life, should we not define them as life, rather than as property?" he wrote.
Representatives for the Colombian-born Vergara, who last September earned the distinction of being the highest paid U.S. television actress for three consecutive years, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Loeb said he decided to write the op-ed after news of the case, which he filed in Santa Monica, California last August, recently broke in the media.
Son of former U.S. ambassador John L. Loeb Jr., Loeb said he and Vergara agreed to attempt in vitro fertilization and have a surrogate bear children from their embryos. He said the couple's first two attempts were unsuccessful, so they created two more embryos in 2013, both female.
Vergara's lawyer, Fred Silberberg, told People magazine in a statement earlier this month that she intended to keep the embryos frozen.
"Vergara, who has happily moved on with her life, is content to leave the embryos frozen indefinitely as she has no desire to have children with her ex, which should be understandable given the circumstances," he said in the statement.
In Wednesday's column, Loeb wrote the two had signed an agreement stipulating the embryos could only be used if both parties consented. He is seeking to have that form voided.
Loeb said he intends to move on and build a new family, but added: "That doesn't mean I should let the two lives I have already created be destroyed or sit in a freezer until the end of time."
"Hot Pursuit," a comedy starring Vergara and actress Reese Witherspoon is set to open next week.
Loeb's op-ed column can be found here (nyti.ms/1Isqn8w).