Fertility has once again been in the headlines with a mother’s bid to use her dead daughter’s eggs to carry her own grandchild.
The High Court in London ruled that the unnamed 59 year old should not be allowed to user her dead daughter’s eggs to do so. High Court judge Mr Justice Ouseley said:
“I must dismiss this claim, though I do so conscious of the additional distress which this will bring to the claimants, whose aim has been to honour their daughter’s dying wish for something of her to live on after her untimely death.”
The Agora’s response
When a young man or woman is diagnosed with life-threatening cancer it is natural for the parents to consider using their child’s eggs or sperm to create a child.
It is important, however, to remember that the person who ultimately must make the decision is the young person whose life is threatened; in this case it was the daughter, and she had not given her written consent to this happening, even if in the family circle it was discussed and agreed.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is quite clear on the issue of informed consent; legally the paperwork was not in place in this instance for the mother to carry her daughter’s child.
On the moral and ethical issues, it is important to be aware that using the sperm or egg from your child to create a life is not a cloning process. Human genetics involves a complex interplay of genes at the point of conception. Not only would the mother be carrying her granddaughter at an age where pregnancy is very risky, but she might also find that her grandchild does not live up to her hopes and certainly cannot replace her daughter.