British woman sues NHS, says her IVF child doesn’t have her genes

September 4th, 2008 - 1:16 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 4 (IANS) In a case without equal in Britain, a woman who bore a child, conceived through artificial insemination, is suing the NHS for not being able to use her own eggs to prepare the embryo.Greta Mason of East Sussex gave birth to a male child, Jaden, conceived via IVF using an anonymous donor’s egg from Spain and the sperm of her husband, Chris.

The IVF wait-list of the NHS is quite long. The couple waited for six years for their turn, and by the time it finally came, Greta had turned 40. Her eggs were too old for conception, the NHS doctors told her.

Her case is that though the doctors tested her at regular intervals, they never told her that she was losing her fertility as she aged; they also did not allow her to jump the queue because of her condition.

“The fact remains that without that six-year delay we could have been parents a long time ago and we could have had a child that was genetically both ours rather than being forced to pay out for a donor egg,” Greta says in her first interview after the child was born.

The parents are blond and blue-eyed, but their son has a thatch of black hair. He resembles his father, but the mother is sad because he has not inherited her genes at all.

Adding to her anguish is the fact that her eggs were healthy while it was her husband who had a medical problem that forced them to go in for IVF treatment.

“Of course we are overjoyed that Jaden is here,” says Greta, “but there is still a twinge of sadness, the niggle that he is not genetically related to me. It isn’t a question of love or feeling that he is not my child”.

“You cannot sweep reality under the carpet and not face the fact that a whole part of Jaden’s life is missing. For example, we will have no idea of the health issues on his side of the family and I worry about how we will explain his birth to him.”

She worries about their future relationship when the son, Jaden, knows the truth. “I am thinking about Jaden. How will he feel when he understands that although I gave birth to him, I am not his genetic mummy? Will he be upset about the way he is conceived? I love him but when he is older, will he love me?”

Daily Mail quotes Chris, who works for large transport company: “It is sad that Greta doesn’t feel she can say ‘Oh, look Jaden’s got my nose’, for example, but I tell her, Jaden has his own looks, he looks like Jaden”.

But his sense of hurt comes through: “I defy any man who loves his wife and says he is completely happy that he’s had a baby using another woman’s egg. When you marry someone, it is natural to want a family with them.”

Her extraordinary and controversial legal action prompted a wave of furious e-mails and letters from readers who accused Greta of being ‘ungrateful’ and ’selfish’.

Others expressed concern that she would find it hard to bond with her baby, because he shared none of her characteristics and questioned whether a cash-strapped NHS should be offering free IVF treatment at all if the taxpayer is left open to compensation claims.

The NHS has not commented on the case on the ground that it is sub-judice.

For the moment the Masons are adjusting to becoming new parents. They have several frozen embryos in storage - created at the same time as Jaden - and will with time consider having a full blood brother or sister for their son.

They intend, when the time is appropriate, to tell Jaden the truth about his conception and hope it will not affect his feelings for them.

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