High Court rules widow can use embryo created before wife passed away

A London man has been given permission by High Court judges to use an embryo created before his wife died suddenly

Ted Jennings and his wife Fern-Marie Choya had gone through several cycles of IVF starting in 2013.

Fern, who was 40 at the time of her death, was pregnant with twins at the time and died from complications following a uterine rupture.

Ms Choya had experienced a natural pregnancy in 2015 and 2016 but both ended in miscarriage.

She then had another pregnancy confirmed in 2018 but at 18 weeks she suffered a ruptured uterus and died in February 2019.

Mr Jennings told the court that the couple had discussed if anything should happen to Fern-Marie or the twins and that he should look to save the twins’ lives above her own.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Association(HFEA) opposed using the embryo as they said it would be unlawful to use the frozen embryo as Fern-Marie had not given consent before her death for it to be used.

The judge in the case, Mrs Justice Theis, said she was ‘satisfied’ that Fern-Marie had given consent for the use of the embryo in the event of her death.

Justice Theis said Fern-Marie had not been given sufficient opportunity to give the consent in writing form because a form completed during the IVF process was ‘far from clear’ in what a woman should give consent to posthumous use of an embryo.

She said the HFEA should give consideration to forms used by a clinic in light of her judgment.

The embryo is currently being held in a London clinic and Mr Jennings is now free to use it with the help of a surrogate.



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