A 60-year-old British woman is in the midst of a court battle over her late daughter’s frozen eggs.
The BBC reports the mother, who is unnamed in the report, wants to use the eggs to give birth to her grandchild. Her daughter died at age 28 of bowel cancer and was never able to have children; the daughter is the woman’s only child, according to the report.
The daughter reportedly asked her mother to “carry my babies” before she died five years ago and consented to have her eggs stored for use after her death, according to court proceedings. However, a judge ruled in 2015 that the daughter had not given her full written consent to her mother. Now, the mother is now appealing the decision, according to the BBC.
Here is more from the report:
… 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.”
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
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.”
The report says the battle is over the daughter’s eggs, not embryos. According to the report, the mother would like to have the eggs fertilized with a sperm donor and then implanted into her womb.
While embryos are unique human beings at the very beginning of life, eggs are not living, separate entities; so destroying them would not be killing. Still, these situations have some ethicists and pro-lifers questioning if modern society is cheapening human life by treating children as commodities rather than valuable individuals.
In 2012, columnist Wesley J. Smith from the Center for Bioethics and Culture wrote about some of his concerns after learning of a baby conceived from sperm frozen 40 years ago:
Who knows what 40 years in the deep freeze could do to the fertilizing cells, and what potential impact such long term cold storage could potentially have on the health of children? Moreover, is this any way to make children? To set records so a man can fulfill his dream of passing his genes down the generations?
But now oncologists are supposed to push the idea for their cancer patients:
This proves that a young male can effectively store semen and confidently use it 20, 30, or 40 years later to start a family,” said Bierbaum. “We’re hoping this kind of news will convince oncology professionals to be more proactive about discussing future fertility with their patients and begin the necessary steps to assure that their patients have been informed.”
I don’t think adding even more consumerist agendas to reproduction is a good thing at all.