The desire of a 60-year-old British woman who wants to use her deceased daughter’s frozen eggs to give birth to her own grandchild took a giant step closer toward reality in a British Court of Appeal decision made yesterday, according to the New York Times and other publications.
The woman, referred to as Mrs. M., said she wanted to honor the dying wishes of her daughter, who passed away at age 28 from bowel cancer in 2011.
According to the court filing, the daughter had been adamant that she wanted her mother to carry her baby and have her parents raise the child.
Thursday’s landmark ruling allows the grandmother to travel overseas and use a sperm donor. The decision overturns an earlier High Court decision to dismiss the case. The case was remitted to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for further consideration.
The HFEA, which regulates fertility in the UK, originally determined that the daughter’s eggs could not be harvested because she had not given her full written consent. On Thursday, the appeals court found that the fertility authority had set the bar too high in determining consent, and found that there was “sufficient evidence of Mr. and Mrs. M.’s daughter’s true wishes” for her mother to have, and raise, her own grandchild.
The court quoted the daughter as saying, “They are never going to let me leave this hospital, Mum; the only way I will get out of here will be in a body bag. I want you to carry my babies. I didn’t go through the IVF to save my eggs for nothing.”
The authority said its initial decision had been entirely predicated on the question of informed consent and that there was no law in Britain that limited the age at which a woman could be implanted with eggs that were previously frozen.
Any potential ethical questions raised by a woman giving birth to her own granddaughter was not within the scope of the authority, it said. But readers, we suspect you may have a few. Please put them in the comments below.
In January, a 53-year-old gave birth to her own granddaughter in Texas after her daughter suffered infertility issues. In this case, the woman, Tracey Thompson — seven years past menopause — underwent medical treatment in order to carry the baby.