IVF Babble

Mother’s court battle for a legal right to have a grandchild

As the rights of transgender people become, quite rightly, more protected, we’re going to inevitably see more and more court cases surrounding the issues that transgender people face

But one case currently going through the Edinburgh Court of Session is one that has never been heard before. The case is a hearing of a mother from Stirlingshire, Louise Anderson, who’s 16-year-old daughter, Ellie Anderson, died in July.

Ellie was born male, but her mother says she identified as a girl from three years old. When she was 14, she had her sperm frozen so that she would have the choice of having her own biological children later in life.

Ellie died after falling ill all of a sudden

Her cause of death is described as “unascertained”. In these cases, the law as set out by the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority (HEFA) states that frozen sperm (and eggs) must be destroyed. When a partner is alive, the rights automatically switch to them to make the decision, but they cannot be transferred to a parent.

But now, Ellie’s mother Louise wants the ability to use her daughter’s sperm to have a grandchild using an egg donor and a surrogate. And she’s taking her case to Scotland’s highest court to prevent Ellie’s sperm being destroyed.

Ellie was due to have gender reassignment surgery once she turned 18 and had delayed taking hormone blockers as a young child, so that her sperm could be collected and frozen. Louise says that her daughter expressed a wish that “if anything were to happen to her, her children would still be brought into the world”.

Louise says that Ellie had wanted two children and had even chosen names

Ellie’s dying wish is now going to be fought through the courts, in what will no doubt be a case that will have its fair share of people expressing their own views.

Describing her daughter as the “bravest person I have ever known”, Ellie’s unexplained death is tragic and must be a devastating blow, even without wanting to help fulfill her dying wishes. As Gillian Bowditch asks in the Times newspaper, what parent who loses a child wouldn’t be at least tempted by the possibility of a grandchild to help their child live on, when their eggs or sperm exist in a lab somewhere?

Louise is 45 and argues that she’s young enough to raise her potential grandchild. But even if the case is successful, would finding an egg donor and surrogate willing to help, be even more difficult?

Does Louise have a right to a grandchild? Only the courts can decide, but we’ll watch the story with interest, and we wish Ellie’s family a peaceful grieving time

 

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