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55 Year Old Irish Woman Too Old To Keep & Use Frozen Embryos According to UK

A 55 year old Irish woman is fighting to ward off the destruction of her embryos:

A County Derry couple have launched a court action to stop the destruction of stored embryos said to be their last chance at having children. They took the action after narrowly falling outside new rules which relax the upper age limit at which a woman can have an embryo implanted.

From 1 October an age limit of 55 was removed, but the woman involved had reached that age days earlier. That means continued retention of their embryos is currently illegal. However, the couple have been granted an injunction guaranteeing nothing is done with them until the legal challenge is decided.

They are also seeking permission to be allowed to transport the embryos to the Republic of Ireland should they fail to ensure their retention within the United Kingdom. The case centres on whether or not the laws are compatible with their right to family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Changes to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act have shifted the rules away from an upper age for the woman in which the embryo is to be implanted. Rather than prohibiting her from being 55 or over, it is now the embryo itself which cannot be any older than that.

Remarking on the fact that the woman had fallen just outside the scope of the changes, her barrister, Monye Anyadike-Danes QC, told the court: “How unlucky is that? There is no hope for her in these guidelines.” It was stressed that continued retention under the current laws would be committing a criminal offence.

Mr Justice Treacy has been told that should anything happen to them there was “no prospect whatsoever of this particular couple having genetic children”.

Hat tip to my colleague, Stephanie Caballero, for finding this story.


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