In Scotland, Brody Family Law has posted that a mother has launched a judicial review challenge to the refusal by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Agency to permit her to have her dead daughter's frozen eggs, so that she can carry her own grandchild.
In M v HFEA the High Court heard that the daughter, who died from bowel cancer at the age of 23, wanted her eggs fertilized by donor sperm and implanted in her mother's womb. A US fertility treatment clinic has indicated that it would be prepared to provide the treatment. One of the problems may be that the mother died of colon cancer years ago, having frozen her eggs prior to her death.
The judge has reserved his judgment, which is expected in the near future. The case is believed to be the first of its kind. The Brody Firm's report is here.
So what's the big deal? In the US, there are plenty of instances where a family member, including a "grandmother" has acted as a surrogate for her daughter. Given the high cost of surrogacy, is it any wonder that a family--especially one that has experienced several failures of implanted embryos to remain viable--to seek out a surrogate who would bear the child(ren) out of love, rather than for money?
56-year-old Jaci Dalenberg of Cleveland carried triplets for her daughter and son-in-law. Credit: The Today Show.
Kristine Casey, 61, gave birth to her granddaughter Finnean, her first grandchild in Chicago.ABC News
In Iowa, Susie Kozisek carried her daughter and son-in-law's second child and will be doing it again--twins, next time! Minneapolis Post Bulletin
In each of these cases (and many others not included above), the ethics boards involved found nothing wrong with a relative acting as a surrogate.
Yes, in the UK there are some surrogacy plans that have resulted in a complete breakdown of the family and the surrogate keeping the child. [See this story from the UK where a daughter carried her mother's child, then kept it.] But there are also lots of surrogacy agreements that have resulted in litigation and/or the surrogate refusing to give up the child after its birth.
There is one practical aspect of the authorities in Scotland refusing to approve this procedure. Who will support the children? Scotland may be thinking that it doesn't need three more mouths to feed.