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Last Updated: Friday, 16 January, 2004, 11:19 GMT
Embryo case woman wins appeal bid
Natallie Evans wants to try for a baby
A woman refused the chance to use frozen IVF embryos against her partner's wishes has won the right to take the case to the Court of Appeal.

Natallie Evans is contesting a High Court bar on the use of the embryos without her ex-partner's consent.

Ms Evans, 30, from Wiltshire, cannot conceive naturally after undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer.

A second woman, Lorraine Hadley, who was also refused permission, has abandoned her legal action.

Ms Evans asked the Royal Courts of Justice for permission to take the case to the Court of Appeal on Friday.

Lord Justice Thorpse, giving permission for a full appeal which will be scheduled to last one-and-a-half days, said the case was not only of "very great interest" to Ms Evans, but there were also points of general public concern.

However, he told Robin Tolson QC, representing Ms Evans: "Your client should not attach too high a hope as to the ultimate outcome."

After the hearing, Muiris Lyons, Ms Evan's solicitor, said: "Natallie is delighted and relieved that her fight to save her embryos is not over. She has never given up hope."

Current rules

The current fertility Act - which governs IVF treatment - says that consent from both man and woman is vital at every stage of the process.

While Ms Evans' former partner Howard Johnston was in favour of IVF when his sperm and her eggs were combined two years ago, the couple then parted and Mr Johnston withdrew his consent.

He says he does not want the financial or emotional burden of a child with Ms Evans.

But this withdrawal means under current rules, the six embryos involved should now be "allowed to perish".

Ms Evans wants them preserved, as the chemotherapy she received for ovarian cancer has left her infertile, and these are her only hope for a child that carries her genes.

She, and Ms Hadley, had argued in court that if they had fallen pregnant naturally, the men involved would have no say in the future of the child - and the creation of IVF embryos produced a similar situation.

Howard Johnston withdrew his permission for IVF
However, last October the High Court ruled that - in both her case, and that of Ms Hadley, consent was paramount, and that the embryos should be destroyed.

Judge Justice Wall said that, although he had sympathy for the women's situation, he could not over-rule the law as it stood.

Ms Evans applied for permission to appeal on the grounds that the law is wrong if it permits Mr Johnston to withdraw his consent after the embryos had been created.

She also argued that in any event it is too late for Mr Johnston to withdraw his consent because, technically, the embryos have already been used as part of her treatment.

In addition, she argued that European human rights legislation gives the embryos a right to life, and her the right to use them as part of her right to a private and family life.

Ms Hadley decided not to pursue an appeal following the High Court ruling.

Ms Hadley, 37, from Sandwell in the West Midlands, had two embryos in storage created during her marriage with her ex-husband Wayne.

She has a 17-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, but suffers from fertility problems because of a medical condition, so could not become pregnant naturally.


SEE ALSO:
Embryo row woman admits defeat
24 Oct 03  |  England
Q&A: Frozen embryos court case
30 Sep 03  |  Health
Women lose embryo battle
01 Oct 03  |  Health


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