Israeli court allows dead girl’s eggs to be harvested
KFAR SAVA, Israel, August 9, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The magistrates court in the town of Kfar Sava has set a legal precedent in Israel, and possibly in the world, after it gave permission to an Israeli family to extract and freeze eggs from the ovaries of their 17-year-old daughter, who died last Wednesday after being hit by a car 10 days ago.
The family of Chen Aida Ayash gave permission for her organs to be donated following her death, but also asked the court for permission for her eggs to be harvested and frozen, reported Israel’s Ha’aretz news agency.
A medical source familiar with the case told the news agency that Chen’s family initially wanted to fertilise the eggs with donated sperm and freeze them as embryos, after donating her organs for transplant. But Kfar Sava’s Meir Hospital refused to fertilize the eggs when a court order for this procedure was denied.
Maayan Maor, a spokeswoman for the Meir Medical Centre told the media, “This is a unique case, since this is the first time an Israeli court has approved the extraction and freezing of ovarian eggs from a dead woman. We don’t know the reason why Chen’s parents wanted it done. We just received the court order and did the procedure.”
Ha’aretz reported that Israel has no law regulating the harvesting of eggs from a dead woman, as this procedure was not included in a new law on egg donation that took effect in February. Harvesting sperm from a dead man, however, was regulated by a 2003 order issued by the attorney general that states only a spouse has an automatic right to harvest sperm from a dead husband and use it to fertilize an egg; parents who wish to harvest their son’s sperm must obtain a court order.
Although latest reports indicate that Chen’s family has had a change of heart and no longer wants their daughter’s eggs fertilized, Irit Rosenblum, founder of the New Family organization, an Israeli group that promotes family rights, was quoted by the UK Guardian to say that the issue in fertilizing the girl’s eggs revolves around both her intent and consent to have children.
“We don’t know if [Chen] was concerned about continuation,” Rosenblum said. “If [the family] can prove the fact that she wanted children, I see no reason why not to allow this.”
Rosenblum did caution, however, that a prerequisite of creating a child from Chen’s ova must be that “the resulting child be brought up by his or her biological father.” He said that a child has a right to know its “biological legacy” rather than being created by anonymous sperm or egg donors.
Pro-family groups have argued, however, that even with the parents’ consent and involvement, artificial reproduction is an intrinsic evil because the child has a right to be conceived in the loving union of husband and wife rather than in a lab.