This Mom's Bid For Her Deceased Daughter's Frozen Eggs Was Shot Down By The Courts In The Weirdest Story You'll Read Today
Um, so this one's pretty strange, guys: According to the Daily Mail, a 59-year-old British mother has been fighting to use the frozen eggs of her dead daughter so that her dying wish of having children can finally be fulfilled. (Yes, really.) The mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims that her daughter wanted her to undergo IVF using her eggs and donor sperm, but the legal system isn't exactly buying that whole story. On Monday, BBC News reports that the British High Court officially banned the woman's plea, citing the fact that her daughter never gave clear written consent before she died. (Kind of a deal-breaker.)
According to BBC News, when addressing the courtroom, High Court judge Mr. Justice Ouseley shared that the ruling was not made lightly:
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 honor their daughter's dying wish for something of her to live on after her untimely death.
Monday's ruling brings an end to a long road for the mother and her husband. Over the past few years, the Daily Mail reports, she approached several British fertility clinics to help her, but was turned away by every single one. Not about to give up without a fight, she set her sights next on a New York City fertility clinic where she hoped to send her daughter's eggs for the pricey procedure. (So pricey, in fact, it could run her as much as $95,000.) That plan was thwarted in 2014 when the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority stepped in and adiosed it, but it wasn't until this week that the mother's case was once and for all shot down in court.
According to the Daily Mail, documents were uncovered that reveal the couple’s 23-year-old daughter was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and did in fact choose to freeze and store three of her eggs at the IVF Hammersmith in West London back in 2008. But beyond that, there seems to be no proof that she actually wanted her mother to have her children after she died.
During the court hearings, Jenni Richards QC spoke on behalf of the mother and her husband. "She was clear that she wanted her genes to be carried forward after her death," Richards said of the daughter's wishes. "She had suffered terribly, and this was the one constant in her remaining years from which she never wavered."
It's hard not to read those words and not feel for the family. But here's the thing: aside from the whole giving birth to your daughter's child after said daughter has died thing being kind of freaky, there is another more basic issue at play here — the mother's age, and the risks such a late-stage pregnancy could pose to the child. Giving birth at nearly 60 would bring with it a ton of extra risks, including low birth weight and preterm labor. In fact, that's why most fertility clinics in the U.K. will deny any women over 50. (That being said though, reports have shown that women giving birth over 50 is on the rise in the U.K., despite the many risks and complications associated with it. So go figure.)
In case you're wondering, there have been other similar cases of women successfully becoming surrogates for their own grandchildren at older ages. Take 56-year-old Pat Anthony of South Africa, who gave birth to triplets for her daughter back in 1987. Since then, the U.K. has seen about four other similar cases, so it's not completely unheard of. But here's what separates those cases from this one: the daughters were still alive. This case would have been groundbreaking.
"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," said Dr. Mohammed Taranissi, a fertility expert who heads up the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre fertility clinic in London, in an interview with the Daily Mail.
Unsurprisingly, the story has raised a lot of eye brows:
But not everyone feels the same. Others tweeted messages of support for the mom this week, saying the court should stay out of it.
As for what will become of the daughters eggs, they are apparently due to be destroyed in 2018 (though it's unclear why there's such a long wait).
Images: Getty (1)