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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Last chance in frozen embryo case
Natallie Evans
Ms Evans went to Strasbourg after exhausting the UK legal process
A woman left infertile after cancer treatment has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights to allow her to use frozen IVF embryos to have a baby.

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

Ms Evans went to the Strasbourg court after exhausting the UK legal process.

The government and Ms Evans' cases were presented at the morning hearing, but a decision is not expected for months.

We had a really good hearing. I am just keeping everything crossed
Natallie Evans

After the hearing, Ms Evans said: "We have had some knock backs in the UK and that is why we are here today."

And she added: "We had a really good hearing. I am just keeping everything crossed."

The appeal to the court represents Ms Evans' last realistic chance to use the embryos, fertilised by Mr Johnston's sperm.

The Court of Appeal and High Court have both ruled that Ms Evans, who is in her early 30s, could not use the embryos and she failed in her bid to take the case to the House of Lords.

Her legal team asked the judges to consider whether the UK law, which now requires her six stored embryos to be destroyed, was a breach of her human rights.

Cancer

Ms Evans underwent IVF treatment following a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Six embryos were created and placed in storage.

She has argued that Mr Johnston, from Gloucester, had already consented to their creation, storage and use, and should not be allowed to change his mind. Current laws require both the man and woman to give consent.

Her team also argued that the UK law unnecessarily interferes with her right to a private and family life.

Ms Evans, from Wiltshire, also believes the embryos may have a qualified right to life of their own.

The court's ruling could have a profound effect on the law, medicine and science.

If Ms Evans is permitted to use the embryos then she must do so before October 2006, which is when the five-year maximum storage period under the law expires.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear Natallie Evans discuss the case



SEE ALSO:
Woman 'cannot use IVF embryos'
25 Jun 04 |  Health
Q&A: Frozen embryos court case
25 Jun 04 |  Health
Embryo row woman admits defeat
24 Oct 03 |  England
Women lose embryo battle
01 Oct 03 |  Health


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