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Egg donor found for grandmother

Dr. Kirsty Horsey

Progress Educational Trust

03 February 2004

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[BioNews, London] Priscilla Eatwell, the 57-year old British grandmother who was in the news last year after advertising for an egg donor, has now found a woman who can help her to have a baby. Because of her age, Mrs Eatwell and her 70-year old husband had been unable to find a clinician in the UK who would be willing to provide them with IVF treatment, although had they found a donor before she was 55, a London clinic was prepared to do so. While there is no national law in the UK setting a maximum age for fertility treatment, each clinic enforces its own upper age limit.

Mrs Eatwell has two children from her first marriage, who are now adults, and have children of their own. The Eatwells also had a daughter together after they underwent IVF 14 years ago, but they did not have a second IVF child at that time because the treatment was too expensive. Mrs Eatwell had been sterilised when she was 24, thinking that she would not want any more children. Later, with the help of an egg donor, she and her husband hoped to have their second child. The couple found an Italian clinic, run by controversial fertility doctor Severino Antinori, which agreed to treat her as long as she could provide a suitable donor.

In August last year, Mrs Eatwell placed advertisements in local shops and newspapers asking for an egg donor to help her have a baby. In September, the UK's Daily Mail newspaper reported that Sharon Cave, a 35-year old mother of two from Bournemouth, had volunteered to donate her eggs and had undergone tests to see if she was suitable as a donor. Now, Priscilla Eatwell has 'recruited' 27-year old Cherie Watts to be an egg donor for her. She and Cherie, both from Southampton, flew to Italy earlier this week to start the treatment - which costs 25,000 pounds - at Antinori's clinic. Next month doctors will remove Cherie's eggs and begin the IVF process. Speaking about the arrangement, Ms Watts said 'when I saw Cilla's story in the paper, I knew straight away I wanted to help'.

'I have wanted to have another baby for years but for financial reasons we couldn't go ahead', Mrs Eatwell said, adding 'now the money is in place and I have found the perfect egg donor, it seems too good to be true'. But pro-life groups have criticised the plan. Nuala Scarisbrick, of the charity Life, said 'the child's welfare seems to be the last consideration. When the child is ten, the mother will be in her late sixties and the father will be 80'.

© 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: 03 February 2004   Date Updated: 12 September 2004
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