A judge is ruling on whether a mother can use her dead daughter’s frozen eggs in a bid to give birth to her own grandchild.
The judge is giving his decision at London’s High Court this afternoon in what is believed to be the first case of its kind.
The unnamed 59-year-old mother and her husband, 58, who were referred to as “Mr and Mrs M”, are challenging an independent regulator’s refusal to allow them to take the eggs of their “much-loved and only child” to a US fertility treatment clinic.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) says their cancer victim daughter, “A”, did not give her full written consent.
But her parents say A was desperate to have children and asked her mother to “carry my babies” once she knew she had no hope of surviving her illness.
They told Mr Justice Ouseley she would have been “devastated” if she had known her eggs could not be used.
It the parents win the case, it is believed Mrs M could become the first woman in the world to become pregnant using her dead daughter’s eggs.
Mrs M said in a statement that A had “suffered terribly” but was clear “she wanted her genes to be carried forward after her death” and regarded the eggs as “living entities in limbo waiting to be born”.
She had her eggs frozen following her bowel cancer diagnosis at the age of 23, and asked her mother to act as surrogate hoping she would recover.
Later she accepted she would never see her child, and she died in June 2011 aged 28.
Her parents want to take the eggs to New York, where a clinic has indicated it is willing to provide fertility treatment with donor sperm at an estimated cost of up to £60,000.
The case came to court after the HFEA refused to issue a “special direction” allowing the eggs to be removed from storage at IVF Hammersmith, which is based within Hammersmith Hospital in west London, and exported to America.
The HFEA’s statutory approvals committee (SAC) decided in 2014 there was insufficient evidence to show the daughter wanted the eggs used in the way her parents suggested after her death.