02 July 2001
ByAppeared in BioNews 114
Patricia Briody has been told by the Court of Appeal that she will not be awarded the costs of a surrogate pregnancy. Last year, the High Court awarded the 48 year old £90,000 damages for negligence against the health authority whose treatment had left her infertile in her twenties, but no damages for the costs of funding a surrogate birth. Last week, the Appeal Court affirmed the original ruling saying that expenditure on surrogacy was 'unreasonable' and should not be paid by the health authority.
The original court was told that the chances of a successful pregnancy using Ms Briody's own eggs were low. Since then, Ms Briody and her partner have stored six embryos created from her eggs and her partner's sperm, and a woman has volunteered to act as a surrogate. At appeal Ms Briody was trying to claim another £78,000 to cover the costs of two cycles of treatment with the stored embryos, four cycles using a surrogate's eggs, and three further cycles for a second child.
The three Appeal Court judges recognised Ms Briody's desire to have a child, but said that funding a surrogacy arrangement would be a 'step too far'. They did not, however, rule out the costs of surrogacy ever being awarded, dismissing the health authority's claim that to do so would be against public policy.
Ms Briody has vowed to continue her fight for a child, and says she will attempt to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights.