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Wednesday, 25 May 2016
Woman's bid to use deceased daughter's eggs continues
A 60-year-old woman who wants to use her late daughter's frozen eggs to give birth to her own grandchild is continuing her legal battle.
The woman is appealing against the UK regulator's refusal to allow her to take her only child's eggs to a US clinic to be used with donor sperm.
Her daughter, who died five years ago, was said to have approved of the plan.
The mother lost a High Court case last year but was subsequently granted permission to challenge the decision.
The latest round of the case is being heard at the Court of Appeal in London, before a panel of three judges.
The UK fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said, in 2014, the daughter's eggs could not be released from storage in London because she had not given her full written consent before she had died, from bowel cancer at the age of 28.
But, in the latest legal proceedings, lawyers acting for the mother told the judges she wanted to fulfil her daughter's wishes to carry a child created from her frozen eggs and "raise that child".
Jenni Richards QC added the eggs would "simply be allowed to perish" if the court did not rule in her favour.
Meanwhile, Catherine Callaghan, appearing for the HFEA, said in a written argument before the court: "It is natural to feel sympathy for the appellants' loss and for their wish to keep their daughter's memory alive by trying to conceive a child using their daughter's eggs."
But it was not the court's role to decide whether it would have permitted the mother to undergo fertility treatment using her daughter's eggs.
Ms Callaghan added: "Rather its role is to determine whether Mr Justice Ouseley erred in concluding that the HFEA's statutory approvals committee acted lawfully and rationally in exercising its broad discretion to refuse to authorise export of the frozen eggs to a treatment centre in New York for use in the way proposed."
During earlier High Court proceedings in June 2015, the court was told her daughter was desperate to have children and had asked her mother to "carry my babies".
Lawyers acting for the mother and her 59-year-old husband told Mr Justice Ouseley the daughter would have been "devastated" if she had known her eggs could not be used.
But the judge ruled that the HFEA was entitled to find the daughter had not given "the required consent" and said there had been no breach of the family's human rights.
Although she consented for her eggs to be stored for use after her death, she did not fill in a separate form outlining how she wished them to be used.
He said he was dismissing the case "conscious of the additional distress which this will bring to the claimants, whose aim has been to honour their daughter's dying wish".
It was thought if the case had been successful her mother could have become the first person in the world to become pregnant using a dead daughter's eggs.
In February 2016, when seeking permission to appeal, her lawyers argued there was "clear evidence" of what the daughter wanted to happen to her eggs when she died.
'Prospect of success'
Lord Justice Treacy said the case papers had left him doubtful as to whether there would be "sufficiently strong" reasons to allow the challenge to continue further.
But after hearing submissions in court, he concluded there was "an arguable case with a real prospect of success".