A mother whose young daughter will never be able to conceive naturally has frozen her own eggs to give the girl a chance of starting a family when she grows up.
The girl, aged ten, was born with a rare genetic condition which means she is infertile. Her mother had several eggs frozen in 2005 which could be used by her daughter for IVF treatment. Under the procedure, which is legal and has been approved by Government ethics committees, the girl could use her mother’s eggs to give birth to her own half-sister or half-brother. But legislation limiting the amount of time eggs can be frozen means Mollie – not her real name – will have to decide before her 18th birthday whether to use the eggs.
They were harvested from her mother in 2005 when Mollie was seven. They can be stored for a maximum of ten years, so she will be only 17 when the time limit expires. If she does not use them by the end of 2015 then, by law, all the eggs would have to be destroyed. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority does allow for the ten-year limit to be extended, but only if the eggs are intended for the donor’s own treatment.
Now Mollie’s mother is campaigning for a reform in the law which would give her daughter more time to make the life-changing decision. The mother, from Hazel Grove, Stockport, said: ‘We only want to give Mollie the same chances as everyone else to have a child of her own. ‘I don’t want to put my daughter under pressure and I don’t think she should be having to make that choice at that age.
‘We feel real sadness that for no particularly justifiable reason our daughter is going to be put in an impossible situation.’
Mollie has Turner’s syndrome, a chromosome abnormality which affects around one in 2,500 girls born every year. The condition causes growth problems, heart defects and physical abnormalities including infertility, a higher risk of diabetes, and ear and urinary infections. The eggs, which are stored in liquid nitrogen at minus 196 degrees Celcius, do not deteriorate and can be stored indefinitely because they are in a state of suspended animation at the temperature-at which all cellular activity ceases.
Mollie’s mother said: ‘She already knows that she is different. We have tried to keep her as informed as we can. ‘We have talked to her about how when she has children it might be different. We just want our daughter to have the same chances as our son.
‘People might think there is something strange about it but really it is no different from people who donate to their sisters.
‘It is to ensure the closest possible genetic match. It has been considered by ethics committees and they have no objection to it.’
Embryology rules state that only women under the age of 36 can freeze eggs because after that the risk of birth defects increases. At least half a dozen British mothers have frozen their eggs to allow their infertile daughters to conceive at a later date.