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Woman cannot use embryos

7th March 2006

08032006_embryo.jpgThe European Court of Human Rights has ruled that a woman left infertile after treatment for ovarian cancer cannot use her frozen embryos to have a baby.

In 2001 Natallie Evans started IVF treatment with her then partner Howard Johnston, but he withdrew consent for the embryos to be used after they split up.

After exhausting the UK legal process Ms Evans went to the Strasbourg court. She now hopes to appeal to the Grand Jury of the European Court, but still wants her ex-fiancé to change his mind.

Ms Evans' legal team had asked the judges to consider whether the UK law, under which the six stored embryos would be destroyed in October this year, was in breach of her human rights. 

But it was ruled, in a majority verdict that, even in such exceptional circumstances as Ms Evans, the right to a family life - enshrined in article eight of the European Convention of Human Rights - could not override Mr Johnston's withdrawal of consent.

It also ruled unanimously that the embryos did not have an independent right to life. The UK's Court of Appeal and High Court had both ruled that Ms Evans could not use the embryos and she failed in her bid to take the case to the House of Lords.

Current UK laws require both the man and woman to give consent,and allow either party to withdraw that consent up to the point where the embryos are implanted. A review of the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which included the issue of the storage of embryos, is currently underway.

 

 

 

 

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