Seventeen Judges in the European Court of Human Rights will decide on Tuesday whether a young woman will be allowed to have her fertilized embryos implanted.
Five years ago she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had to make the immediate decision to have her eggs frozen as that would be her only chance of having children in the future. Her partner agreed to the procedure, the eggs were fertilized and have been frozen ever since.
The partner has now left the young woman and withdrawn his permission for the embryos to be used. English courts have ruled that the embryos can only be implanted with the partners consent.
As far as I am concerned he already gave his consent, when the eggs were fertilized. The young woman quite rightly looks upon the embryos as potential children. She is bravely fighting their silent corner. She is their voice. Once the process of fertilization has begun, the equivalent of a planned pregnancy, there is surely a moral obligation to continue. It’s a bit late for the ex-partner to say no. I very much hope the ECHR finds in her favour.
I would imagine that the English court were interpreting the 1990 Embryology and Human Fertilization Act and could make no decision other than the one which was made and had nowhere to go. However, the judge’s decision in the ECHR will not be restricted by English law. Maybe there is a point to this court after all?
The case is shown on Tuesday night in ‘A Child Against All Odds’ on BBC1, when I assume the judges decision will be known. If the decision is no, the embryos will be destroyed along with the chance of her ever having a child of her own – harsh and wrong if you believe as she does, that the embryos are the beginning of human life, the beginning of her baby’s life.