Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_91336

No legal solution to personal conflict

1 October 2003
By Juliet Tizzard
Director, Progress Educational Trust
Appeared in BioNews 227
This week's BioNews reports on news that two women have lost a legal challenge to the use of their embryos without the consent of their former partners. Natallie Evans and Lorraine Hadley want to use the frozen embryos to try for their own babies even though their former partners - the men who provided the sperm - no longer want to have a child with them. The fact that these women have no other way of having a biologically related child makes the situation seem all the more unfair. But can the law be expected to resolve such situations?

When the case originally came to court, their lawyer, Muiris Lyons, said 'If they got pregnant naturally and the embryos were in their bodies then their respective partners would not have any say at all... The law needs to take into account why they should be effectively discriminated against because they're infertile.' The judge, however, took a different view.

Justice Wall also noted that the 1990 law is very clear on the issue of consent and for good reasons. The providers of the eggs and of the sperm must both give their written consent for the storage and use of their embryos. If one of them changes his or her mind, the consent is nullified and the embryos must be removed from storage and destroyed. Nothing has changed since the law came into being. Embryo freezing was available at the time and the potential for conflict between couples who separate in between the storage and the use of the embryos in treatment remains the same.

Contrary to the claims of the two women's lawyers, the law is not discriminatory in this instance. It is nature which discriminates between those who can have children naturally and those who cannot. Reproductive science and the laws which govern it can help to overcome an obstacle imposed by nature, but they cannot overcome rifts in personal relationships. The only solution to this seemingly intractable problem is an agreement between the women and their respective former partners. The women may find themselves in unlucky situations, but there's no legal remedy for that.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
15 February 2005 - by BioNews 
Natallie Evans, a British woman seeking the right to be able to use her own frozen IVF embryos, is taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The embryos were created using her own eggs and sperm from her then partner, who later withdrew his consent to...
6 December 2004 - by BioNews 
The UK's House of Lords has refused to allow an appeal from Natallie Evans, a woman seeking to be able to use frozen IVF embryos that were created before she separated from her then partner, who has since withdrawn his consent to their use. The embryos represent her last chance...
25 June 2004 - by BioNews 
The UK's Court of Appeal has ruled that Natallie Evans cannot use the IVF embryos she created with her former partner. Natallie was one of two British women legally prevented, due to the withdrawal of consent by their ex-partners, from using embryos kept in frozen storage. The embryos represent her...
24 March 2004 - by BioNews 
Natallie Evans, one of two British women who was legally prevented from using embryos kept in frozen storage by the withdrawal of consent by her ex-partner, has started her appeal. In the latest stage of her continued fight to have her own biologically-related child, she is asking the UK's Court...
30 January 2004 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
Natallie Evans, one of two British women who was legally prevented from using embryos kept in frozen storage by the withdrawal of consent by her ex-partner, will have her case heard by the Court of Appeal on 23 and 24 March this year. In the latest stage of her continued...
29 October 2003 - by BioNews 
Natallie Evans, one of two British women currently prevented from using embryos kept in frozen storage by the withdrawal of consent by ex-partners, has announced that she will take her case to the Court of Appeal. The UK High Court ruled a month ago against Natallie Evans and Lorraine Hadley...
27 October 2003 - by BioNews 
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...
6 October 2003 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
While one might have sympathy for Natallie Evans and Lorraine Hadley because the UK's High Court has ruled they cannot use the embryos they have in frozen storage, it is hard to criticise the legal decision in this case. Mr Justice Wall followed the letter of the law on consent...
3 October 2003 - by BioNews 
Last week, the High Court ruled against two women seeking to use their frozen embryos against their ex-partners' wishes. One of them, Lorraine Hadley, said in a subsequent BBC interview that she may request her ex-husband to consent to donating their two embryos to another woman, so that the embryos...
1 October 2003 - by BioNews 
The UK High Court has ruled today that Natallie Evans and Lorraine Hadley cannot use their stored frozen embryos without the consent of their former partners. The women appeared in the High Court in June this year, asking Mr Justice Wall to prevent the destruction of their stored embryos, created...
HAVE YOUR SAY
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.