The daughter, named only as ‘A’ in the court case, had her eggs frozen after being diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 23. Her parents say that she had spoken with them about the eggs being used after her death, saying ‘I didn’t go through IVF to save my eggs for nothing’.
Although the daughter 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.
When the mother then sought to retrieve the eggs to seek fertility treatment in the US, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) decided there was insufficient evidence to show the daughter wanted her parents to use the eggs in this way.
The Judge in the case said he was ‘conscious of the additional distress which this will bring to the claimants”.
However, the HFEA said there was no clear evidence A had expressed the wish for her mother to carry her child in the event of her death, saying … ‘the court should be very reluctant to assume that, because this is the proposed course the claimants want, it must inherently follow that it was also what the daughter wanted, in the absence of clear evidence to that effect.’
The mother and her husband could take their case to the Court of Appeal.
This very unhappy situation highlights the importance of instructing professionals - however clear a case you think you may have, it is always, always best to seek legal advice.
If you're unsure as to whether a situation you find yourself in would benefit from our help, just give us a ring or email me.