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Transgender girl's sperm to be stored until court date

14 September 2020
Appeared in BioNews 1063

The NHS has agreed to continue storing a dead teen's frozen sperm until her mother can bring the case to court. 

As reported in BioNews last week Louise Anderson is launching a legal bid to stop the destruction of her late daughter's sperm, which the fertility clinic are obliged to destroy according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.

'It is a temporary reprieve but my goal is still to take this to court,' Anderson told the Scottish Sun. 'Ellie left me strict instructions that if anything happened to her, she wanted her children brought into the world. So I'm going to do everything I can. The law needs to change.' 

Ellie Anderson froze her sperm at age 14 at Glasgow Royal infirmary ahead of initiating hormone therapy as part of her transition. She wanted to preserve her fertility so that she could have genetically related children later in life. Ellie died unexpectedly at age 16 in July, and her mother is seeking to use the sperm, along with donor eggs and a surrogate, to create a child.

Under UK law, had Ellie been in a relationship at her time of death, her partner could have requested to save the sperm. Anderson is trying to challenge the law that does not extend this right to parents. 

'What we're trying to achieve would be to get an order from the court that Ellie's mum would be entitled to make use of her sperm for the purpose that Ellie intended - that being to create a genetic child of hers and a grandchild for Ms Anderson,' Anderson's solicitor, Virgil Crawford told BBC Scotland. 'The NHS by agreement has decided not to destroy the sample and to allow Ms Anderson and her legal team to consider the best way to move forward and whether court proceedings will be necessary.' 

A court date has been set for 30 November. If Anderson is successful, a legal precedent could be established for parents to use their deceased children's gametes.

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