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Woman gives up frozen embryo fight

27 October 2003
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 231

Lorraine Hadley, one of the two women prevented from using embryos kept in frozen storage because her husband refused the necessary consent, has said she will not battle further to be able to use them. Ms Hadley had created two embryos during IVF treatment with her former husband, Wayne. After the couple separated, she wished to go ahead with the treatment, but the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 requires consent from both parties for continued storage or use of frozen embryos.

In September, the UK High Court ruled against Lorraine Hadley and Natallie Evans, who were both seeking to use their frozen embryos against their ex-partners' wishes. They claimed that had they been fertile and able to naturally conceive, their ex-partners would not have been able to prevent them from going on to have the children, and that they were therefore being discriminated against for being infertile. A week after the court's decision, in an interview with the BBC, Ms Hadley said that she was considering asking her ex-husband if he would to consent to donating their two embryos to another woman, in order to avoid destroying them.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Wall refused Natallie Evans and Lorraine Hadley leave to appeal against his decision. However, either of the women could have appealed directly to the Court of Appeal if they wanted to take the case further. A 28-day stay on the destruction of their embryos was granted, while they each decided their next move. Last week, Ms Hadley said that her fight is over, now that legal aid for her case has been withdrawn. She said that she understood that it is likely that that her two frozen embryos will be allowed to thaw and be destroyed by chemicals sometime this week. But the outcome made her feel like doctors were 'playing God': 'It's like, OK, we've made a life and we can throw it away as it doesn't matter', she said, adding 'they forget the emotional ties people have got to them... the fact I've now lost them is an awful thing to go through'.

Ms Evans has until 29 October to decide whether to appeal her own case. Muiris Lyons, the solicitor who represented both women, said that she was as yet undecided. The deciding factor is likely to be whether she can get legal aid to carry on the case.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Embryo row woman admits defeat
BBC News Online |  24 October 2003
Natallie's solitary fight
The Bath Chronicle |  27 October 2003
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