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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
IVF wrangle cases go to court
IVF
Embryos have been fertilised in both cases
Two women have begun their legal fight to prevent their former partners from destroying their IVF embryos.

Natalie Evans and Lorraine Hadley both want to use their stored embryos to have a child.

However, in each case their former partners have withdrawn their consent for the procedure.


My ovaries were removed in November

Natalie Evans
Lawyers for the two women have started proceedings to stop the women's embryos from being destroyed.

Under current law, both parties must give their consent for IVF to continue - otherwise, the embryos must be destroyed.

The women argue that the treatment is already under way and that the men should not have to right to stop it.

'Only chance'

Natalie Evans, 30, from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, says using the embryos is her only chance of ever having a baby.

She is recovering from cancer and six embryos were created from eggs taken before her ovaries were removed.

Lorraine Hadley, from Stafford, underwent IVF treatment but has since got divorced - she wants to use two of her stored embryos to try to get pregnant.

Ms Evans said she had no chance of getting pregnant unless she was allowed to use the embryos.

Natallie Evans
Ms Evans was diagnosed with cancer last year
"My ovaries were removed in November," she told the BBC.

She added that she was prepared to draw up a legal contract spelling out that her former partner had no responsibility for any future child.

"We were both happy with that," she said.

However, Ms Evans received a letter on 30 July informing her that her former partner had refused his consent for the treatment to proceed, prompting her to take the case to court.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority which regulates IVF treatment in the UK has stated that both parties must give their consent before treatment can go ahead.

Legal ramifications

Professor John Harris of the University of Manchester said the case could have a major impact on fertility law.

Professor John Harris
Prof Harris said the case could have major implications
He told the BBC: "If the woman succeeds in this case then the whole basis upon which the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has operated thus far will be overturned.

"Until now, it has operated on the basis that there must be continuing consent between a man and a women in every stage of the reproductive process.

"If she succeeds in this case, then she will have established that the man's role ends once the egg is fertilised."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Karen Allen
"Their continued use requires both partners' consent"
Natalie Evans
"My ovaries were removed in November"

Click here to go to BBC Wiltshire

Click here for more from BBC Stoke & Staffordshire
See also:

23 Aug 02 | England
24 Aug 02 | England
31 Mar 99 | Medical notes
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