Amanda Knox has opened up about her fertility fears when she was sentenced to 26 years in prison in Italy
The 34-year-old spent four years in prison after being wrongly convicted of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in an Italian court.
She was later exonerated for the crime and freed to return home to the United States.
Amanda was talking after the recent birth of her daughter, Eureka Rose, with her husband, Christopher Robinson.
In the first-person essay for OprahWinfrey.com, she describes her experience of being faced with the prospect of being childless if she’d had to complete the 20-year sentence she was handed down.
She said: “My first infertility crisis occurred when I was sentenced to 26 years in prison for a murder I did not commit. I had been on trial for two years before that verdict was handed down, and until then, I had naively assumed that the truth couldn’t help but win out, that this was all a misunderstanding. That guilty verdict shook the foundations of my world.”
She said that during that time her thoughts of becoming a mother had shifted and she had to live the prospect of never realising that dream of having a child of her own.
She said: “Having a child was not even a question. Now I was facing the prospect of being released back into a free society at the age of 46. It wasn’t just my freedom that had been stolen from me; motherhood had been stolen from me.”
Amanda explained that it was something that was not acknowledged by authority and needed to change.
She said: “Both men and women can lose their productive years when sentenced to overly long and punitive sentences, but men’s reproductive functions do not expire the way women’s do. When a woman is convicted and given a long sentence, she is effectively sentenced to just to time, but to infertility.”
Amanda is calling for people to support organisations such as The Sentencing Project, a charity that is fighting mass incarceration.
She said: “Wanting to have children and facing infertility is a unique form of existential pain. When biology is the cause, we can all join together and realise we are not alone. But when criminal justice is the cause, there is something we can do about it. A 20-year sentence for a woman is not just time – it’s a life that could be, it’s a child waiting for the chance to be born.”
Amanda talked to other women wrongly convicted of a crime and their stories of infertility.
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