‘My ex is trying to stop me using my eggs’
AN ex-boyfriend wields "time as a weapon," says a New York City woman in her forties fighting her former beau over the use of their frozen embryos.
"I am 42 years old. I want to be a mother. I want to raise a child," said Ilissa Watnik in court papers last week.
Watnik's fertility is ticking away as her ex-lover, Kevin Heldt, filed suit last month in Manhattan Supreme Court to prevent her from using the fertilised eggs they created in 2015.
The couple dated from 2014 to 2016, even living together in Watnik's Manhattan pad.
In the "early and happy part of our relationship," the then 39-year-old Watnik and Heldt wanted children together so badly, they went to Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York for in vitro fertilisation.
The pair met with doctors, Heldt gave Watnik daily "estrogren enhancing" injections, provided sperm samples, and was with Watnik when doctors first attempted to implant two embryos in 2015.
"He was fully aware, as I was, that the procedure was designed to result in a pregnancy, and a pregnancy is designed to result in childbirth," Watnik said.
Heldt was so involved in the couple's effort to get pregnant, he even put Watnik on his health insurance, because it had better IVF coverage than hers, she claims.
The two also repeatedly signed consent agreements with the fertility clinic mapping out what would happen if they split: Watnik would get the embryos, of which four now remain, according to court papers.
The couple's first shot at IVF didn't succeed.
By then, Watnik had turned 40, and "was very concerned that having only four remaining embryos gave me, at best, one or two more chances to get pregnant."
As the relationship soured, Heldt lost interest in the pregnancy bid, upsetting Watnik, who delayed a second attempt at IVF fearing the stress of their crumbling bond would make it harder to get pregnant.
The couple broke up in 2016 and Heldt, now 46, moved out of Watnik's home. He's since married his third wife, Watnik said in court papers.
But when Watnik moved to use the embryos late last year, Heldt did whatever he could to slow the process down, knowing time is not on Watnik's side, she charges.
When the clinic tried to confirm the break up, Heldt ignored or refused to co-operate with their overtures, then claimed he was withdrawing his consent for Watnik to use the fertilised eggs.
When RMA said it would hand over the embryos to Watnik anyway, Heldt ran to court to stop the transfer, claiming he feared the financial burden children would bring.
"I have never relied on Kevin's money. … I have a career and my own money," said Watnik, who slammed the "financial burden" argument as a "ploy."
Going to a sperm bank would mean Watnik has to use her now nearly 43-year-old eggs, instead of the embryos created when she was younger, she notes. This would reduce the probability of getting pregnant.
"Given enough time, Kevin will simply run out my biological clock," she charged. "I am asking the court to enforce what I thought were already-resolved contractual issues … I am asking the court to allow my use of those embryos so I may attempt (for a second time) to get pregnant."
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission.