Consent key to the use of stored gametes after the donor's death
A woman has failed in her bid to use her deceased daughter's frozen eggs to give birth to her own grandchild. In R (on the application of IM) v Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority , the High Court heard how the woman's daughter had consented to, and undergone, treatment at an IVF centre for the removal and storage of her eggs. The treatment was undertaken to preserve the possibility of having a child notwithstanding her diagnosis of bowel cancer and its treatment. She was not married nor did she have a partner during this time. Following her death, her mother applied to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for permission to export three of the eggs to the US where an IVF clinic was prepared to fertilise and implant them into the mother.
While the HFEA had concerns about the risk to the 58-year-old mother's health if she underwent IVF treatment and pregnancy, they had no fundamental moral objection to a woman carrying her daughter's child. The reason they refused permission was on the grounds that the strict consent requirements under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990) had not been met. The mother challenged the decision in the High Court.
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