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Call for change to UK embryo laws

Dr Kirsty Horsey

Progress Educational Trust

20 February 2003

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[BioNews, London] David Stewart, MP for Inverness, Scotland, has introduced a 10-minute rule bill to the UK Parliament aimed at changing the law to protect the rights of both partners involved in IVF treatments. He introduced the bill in support of one of his constituents, Margaret Grant, who called for a change to the existing law after embryos that she created during IVF treatment with her former husband were destroyed without her knowledge or consent.

Margaret Grant was divorced from her husband in January 2001. Five embryos that had been created using donated eggs and her former husband's sperm had been stored at the clinic where the IVF treatment took place. But when Mrs Grant tried to continue the IVF treatment after the divorce, she was told that the embryos had been destroyed at the request of her former husband.

Mr Stewart wants the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to change its code of practice in order to prevent the same thing happening to other people. He asked for permission 'to insert a new one-line clause in the 1990 Act, requiring that women undergoing IVF who have had eggs donated be informed prior to the destruction of embryos, so that guidance, counselling and advice can be afforded'. He said 'I want to ensure that no other women in Britain undergoing IVF treatment suffer the same trauma, the same anxiety and the same depression as my constituent'. But he stressed that he did not want a change to the current law 'where both the woman who provided the eggs and the man who provided the fertilisation have to give effective consent for the embryos to remain in storage'.

© Copyright Progress Educational Trust

Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.

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Date Added: 20 February 2003   Date Updated: 12 September 2004
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