Life

Woman battles for right to use her deceased daughter’s eggs to conceive a child

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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A 60-year-old woman is appealing a court ruling that states she cannot use her deceased daughter's eggs to conceive a child.

The woman, who is from the UK, wants to take her daughter's frozen eggs to a clinic in the US to be inseminated with donor sperm. Her daughter, who is her only child, is said to have approved of the plan before she died five years ago aged 28 from bowel cancer.

However, the UK's fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), denied her request to release her daughter's eggs from storage in 2014 because she had not given full written consent.

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The 60-year-old woman wants to uphold her daughter's wish to have a child

The woman appealed this decision in 2015 and said during High Court proceedings in June last year that her daughter had been desperate to have children. The court head that she had asked her mother to "carry [her] babies" and would have been "devastated" to know her eggs would not be used.

But a judge upheld the ruling, saying that although the daughter had consented for her eggs to be frozen for use after her death, she had not left the "required consent" for her mother to use them.

The mother appealed this decision again in February of this year, with her lawyers telling the court there was "clear evidence" her daughter wanted her mother to use her eggs after her death. After healing the appeal, Lord Justice Treacy said there was "an arguable case with a real prospect of success".

The mother continued her appeal at the Court of Appeal yesterday, presenting her case to three judges including president of the High Court's family division, Sir James Munby. A decision has not yet been announced.

The case is reminiscent of a woman in the US who last month spoke out on her decision to use sperm from her deceased husband's body to conceive a child.

If the mother wins the appeal she will become the first ever woman to become pregnant with a child conceived using the egg of a deceased daughter.

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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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