Wednesday, 11 April 2007

IVF Decision Splits Genders

It has been quite a while since an issue sprang up that divided people along the lines of gender. Natallie Evans and her boyfriend underwent IVF treatment after cancer treatment left her infertile.
Six embryos were frozen but the couple separated before the embryos could be implanted in Ms Evans’s womb and her former partner later changed his mind about having children. He refused permission for his ex to use the embryos and wanted to destroy them while his former girlfriend wanted to use them to have children.
After five years of courtrooms, the highest European Court has refused her permission to use the embryos and has ordered them to be destroyed.
She argued that her former partner had already consented to the creation, storage and use of the embryos and that it was unfair for him to be allowed to alter his decision.
I can see both sides of this particular argument but i do find myself coming down on the side of the man. The bottom line is he withheld his permission, although i also feel for the woman who has lost her only chance of having children.


Paula said...

I also side with the man. No one, male or female, should be forced to produce children they don't want. Though I suppose I may contradict myself by saying that if she is already pregnant, he shouldn't be allowed to force her to abort. But this isn't that situation, and no one will be doing anything invasive to her body by disposing of the embryos.

Cheezy said...

I'm swaying the same way. I've got sympathy for the lady... but I think it's correct that she has no rightful legal remedy. C'est la vie, sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I'm on the side of the man too - but I feel for the woman :o( Love, Mrs M oOXOo

Anonymous said...

I guess this proves the old wisdom that you should never put all your eggs in one basket.

Jodie Kash said...

So if they eggs had been implanted and a child born prior to the split, would the court condone killing the child now? Before the shit storm begins, yes I am being cheeky and no, I myself do not believe destroying a sperminated egg is murder. But the gentlemen in this case agreed to the full process prior, but is breaking that contract (even if only verbal) now.

Def two sides to this argument and I'm open to both.

Falling on a bruise said...

Joe - or indeed a deep freeze

I also see both sides of the argument but the deciding factor for me was that she did not have his permission and as Paula said, nobody can be forced to have children they don't want.

The Little Cheese said...

Its a toughie for me... I agree with the decision just because the wider arguments are a bit worrisome.

If there are websites about like this:

what is to say that one day you can buy some frozen sperm of a celebrity and decide to have their children?

I know I am probably going OTT here, but frankly I was relieved at the decision.

Don said...

Ironic isn't it, considering how many men really don't give a shit how many children they have so long as they don't have to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

I thought the most disturbing aspect of this case was the fact that a woman had to wait and see if a judge in Strasbourg would let her have a baby, or not.

Also, the laws on IVF in the UK are explicit, both parties, sperm and egg donors need consent before treatment. However, it's the UK's Human Rights Act (HRA) that is responsible for allowing the lawyers to drag this case through the courts for over 5 years.

The act was supposed to enshrine the principles of a universal human rights culture - but instead it's only cemented a culture of 'me, me, me'. Witness Natallie Evans response to the judges verdict 'a lot has been said about the rights of Mr Johnston, I was fighting for my right to be a mother and the rights of the embryos'.

I can think of some 'universal rights' that are well worth fighting for, like the right to liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness - the 'right' to be a mother is not one them.

By couching her personal complaint in the language of human rights, Evans is hoping to claim that her human rights have been infringed in some way - I'm sorry, but no one can really have a guaranteed 'right' to be a mother, or have a family life - such things are strictly a matter of common human endeavour - and not a matter for the lawyers and courts.

As for the embryos... it hasn't got any 'rights', until the moment of birth that is.

Anonymous said...

Interesting view Lucy, I may have just changed my mind. I agreed with you until you highlighted the estoppel argument. I had not heard the press put it that way, but it is a strong and compelling argument.

That said it should now be absolutely crystal clear that all IVF clinics should store both fertalised and unfertalised eggs and sperm.