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British woman in legal bid to use dead daughter's eggs

2 March 2015
Appeared in BioNews 792

A British woman is in a legal bid to become pregnant using her deceased daughter's eggs, reports the Mail on Sunday. The mother, aged 59, said it was her daughter's dying wish before she died of bowel cancer four years ago.

The woman's daughter was in her twenties when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer. She chose to store her eggs in the hope of having children if she recovered, however she died before the eggs could be used. The mother maintains that they had reached an agreement that she would use the eggs in the event of her daughter's death.

Commenting on the case, Dr Mohammed Taranissi, of the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre in London, told the newspaper: 'I have never heard of a surrogacy case involving a mother and her dead daughter's eggs. It's fair to say that this may be a world first.'

Although the woman, who has not been named, is past natural childbearing years, it is possible for her to carry an embryo from donated or stored eggs to term. However, there is an increased risk of complications, such as a miscarriage.

No clinic in the United Kingdom has agreed to treat the woman, says the Mail, and so she wants to take the eggs to a clinic in New York, which is lined up to treat her for an estimated cost of up to £60,000. The woman hopes to fertilise the eggs using donor sperm.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has declined to allow the eggs to be exported, however, maintaining that the daughter did not give clear written consent prior to her death. Minutes reveal that although the daughter signed a form agreeing that her eggs can be stored after her death, she did not sign a separate form indicating what she wished to be done with her eggs in the event of her death.

The daughter's parents have had three applications rejected by the fertility regulator, which said they had not provided enough evidence for export to be agreed.

The parents now intend to take their case to the High Court.

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