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Court of Appeal hears woman's bid to use deceased daughter's eggs

31 May 2016
Appeared in BioNews 853

The Court of Appeal has heard a woman's bid to use her daughter's eggs after her death to create a child.

The woman, known as IM, wants to take her deceased daughter's frozen eggs to the USA in order to have a child, which she claims was her daughter's wish (see BioNews 801).

In June last year, Mr Justice Ouseley in the High Court said that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's (HFEA) decision to refuse an export licence to enable IM to take the eggs abroad was lawful (see BioNews 807).

The use of gametes after a person's death is permitted in the UK, but that person must have given their consent to such a use. The HFEA has discretion to permit the export of gametes in some cases but decided not to do so in this instance, saying there was insufficient evidence that the daughter had consented to the eggs being used in such a way by her parents.

Lord Justice Treacy granted IM permission to appeal last February (see BioNews 841), saying her case was 'arguable'. The Court of Appeal has now heard the case and will give its decision at a later date.

In a written statement to the court, the HFEA said that while it was 'natural to feel sympathy for the appellants' loss and for their wish to keep their daughter's memory alive', the task for the court was not to determine if she should receive treatment, but whether the High Court had 'erred in concluding that the HFEA's statutory approvals committee acted lawfully and rationally in exercising its broad discretion to refuse to authorise export of the frozen eggs'.

Representing IM, Jenni Richards QC said that it was the daughter's wish that her parents would use the frozen eggs and 'raise that child'. If she would not be allowed to do so then the eggs would 'simply be allowed to perish', reports BBC News.

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