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Thursday, April 12, 2007

The end of the line

Natalie Evans has lost her five year battle to become a mother. Natalie and her then partner underwent IVF in 2001 when Natalie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and six embryos were frozen. Following her treatment, the couple split up and Natalie's partner requested that the embryos be destroyed. When Natalie failed to convince the UK legal system of the right to life of her embryos, she took her case to the European Court of Human Rights. The unanimous decision by the European court has brought her long struggle to an end and the embryos will now be destroyed.

While I agree that you cannot force a man to become a father (some might say he already is), I find it hard to believe that a man would go to such lengths to deny a woman he once loved the right to have a child of her own. Yes, the legal battle was driven by her desire to have a child, but he can't have failed to notice how strong her desire was and how much she was suffering. At some point he was a willing partner to this process, he signed consent forms and agreed to become a father. Just how awful would his life be if one of those embryos was given a chance? As opposed to the terror she is facing for the rest of her life? Sometimes you just have to look at the bigger picture.

We all know the drive, the force that compells us to sacrifice everything and everyone around us for a shot at pregnancy. We can understand why Natalie kept going in the face of such opposition, when her legal team must have advised her that her chances were slim, and with such a low chance of FET success had she got that far. It's the same reason that we continue to put ourselves through IVF, we change protocols, move clinics, even move countries. Because as long as there's a 1% chance of success it means that someone somewhere is getting pregnant and it might just be me.


At 12:46 AM, Blogger Carol said...

It makes me very sad for her. And what a cruel, cruel man to deny her this dream.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Rachel Inbar said...

There was a very similar case here in Israel. The ruling in the municipal court was in the woman's favor, but when it went to the supreme court (not sure I've got the courts right) the ruling was overruled and she was not allowed to use the frozen embryos.

It is truly sad that she can not use the embryos.

At 2:08 AM, Blogger Bumble said...

I saw that on the news here, it really made me cry for her. Poor woman, that guy is an ass.

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree, he does not want to be a father.
If it were the other way around would people insist that she should become pregnant and carry a child for nine months and give birth to a child she did not want simply to fulfill his dreams of being a parent.
Yes I feel for her, yes it is hard but he should not be villified.

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Discreid said...

Beautifully written Feebee. Thinking of you all the time.

At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also disagree he doesn't want to be a father. She has stated in court that she would persue him for maintenance for any child born.
If the shoe was on the other foot and he wanted the embryos, would she agree to either have the baby or allow another woman use the embryos - probably not.

She also has a child, she is not childless and while I accept that that sometimes isn't enough,her desires shouldn't be the only consideration.

At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a person we are talking about creating, not an extension of the mother but a separate human being whose needs should be paramount and not the desire, however strong that may be of the woman to have a baby.#
It is not a right to have a baby.

At 12:59 PM, Blogger Feebee said...

To the 3 Anons - as I stated, I agree with the ruling, you cannot force someone to be a father. I just hoped that someone, who once loved his partner enough to want to have children with her, would be able to see the humanity of the situation.

Natalie Evans does not have any children and offered to give half the embryos to her ex-partner. I don't think the analogy of her carrying a child for him is accurate, but she was willing to allow his new partner to carry her embryos.

Having a child is not a right - this is evidenced by the complete lack of support for infertile couples, financial and otherwise, from the government and insurance companies. Thankfully they do provide financial support for our inevitable depression, anxiety and trauma, and the social welfare pick up the tab for extended sick leave and unemployment due to extreme stress. So it's swings and roundabouts.

At 6:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you need to think about this. If your husband came home tomorrow and you two didn't already have children and announced to you that he was going to have a baby with his ex, what would you say? All very well to be pious when other people are involved but I think you would think diffently if it was happening to you.

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