Daniel (shoppingqueen) wrote,

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Moral Dilemma of the week

There is a really interesting case in the media at the moment and its dividing medical opinion and everyone's views.
This is the story and facts about it and then what side do you take?

Natalie and Howard were really in love at the turn of the millennium and in 2000 they became engaged after being together for a year! However tragedy strikes in 2001 when Natalie is diagnosed with Ovarian cancer (which is really not a good cancer to get, although no cancer is obviously good, but it is a bad one!). The treatment is very strong to save her and she is warned before starting that she will be most probably infertile afterwards. They decide to use IVF and freeze some of her eggs in case she ever wants children in the future. Eleven eggs are taken from her and six successfully fertilised embryos are frozen in storage. This is now in November 2001. Natalie undergoes treatment and is still recovering from the cancer but is now infertile but okay. Sadly her and Howard split up in the summer of 2002! He writes a letter to the clinic which stored the embryos asking for them to now be destroyed. They are not destroyed because it takes the permission of both parties.

In 2003 Natalie decides she wants children and using the stored embryos is the only way for her to go about doing so now. However under UK law she has to get permission from her former lover Howard to use them. This is the dilemma. He is refusing to give the permission as his side is that they have split up and he cannot be forced now to be a father. The relationship is over. Her point is that this is the only way to get pregnant and have children. She is in her early thirties. So far she has gone through every court and each have ruled in Howards favour. This week she went to a European court and lost again and is now appealing.

There was 7 medical professionals who ruled on the case which is really, is it her human right to have children? 5 of them decided that she did not have the right to overrule Howard's consent, and 2 ruled in his favour.
In the UK frozen embryos are only kept for 5 years, so she must appeal by October this year or they will be destroyed.

This is the story of Natalie Evans and Howard Johnston and you can read the news story here

Her side of the story is that he created human life when they went through IVF and created embryos. In a normal situation if they had had kids then they would now have children and would have gone through the process legally for access etc when they split up. Also she has the human right to have kids from them, as its her only possible way now.

His side of the story is that the relationship is over now and he has moved on. By consenting to her using the embryos now she is creating a single parent family basically. Also he would then have to take a legal responsibility for the child and a financial and emotional responsibility.

My personal opinion is that its a horrid situation and that Howard should not be betrayed badly by his decisions. He said to the media that this court case is not a "victory" but the right victory.
I take his side on the issue. He relationship is now over, so I don't think she can use his half owned embryos. Even though its horrid that she cannot have children without them. I don't see why she couldn't have stored "eggs" without being fertilised for the future. Lots of women store eggs and men store semen when they have cancer or some medical problem. Maybe she should think about adoption?

Its a very divided issue, but who do you side with?

Poll #687029 embroyos

Who do you side with in this very difficult situation?

Natalie Evans
Howard Johnston
Tags: dilemmas, poll

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