February 25, 2024


The issue of whether there is a right to bear children surfaced again in Britain after a woman lost an epic fight in the courts to have her frozen embryos implanted. “I am distraught at the court’s decision today. It is very hard for me to accept that the embryos will now be destroyed and I will never become a mother,” said Natallie Evans.

Ms Evans and her boyfriend Howard Johnston had six embryos frozen in 2001 before she underwent chemotherapy which left her infertile. But afterwards the couple broke up and her boyfriend adamantly refused to consent to using the embryos. He does not want to have his child raised by a woman with whom he is no longer connected. The law in the UK clearly requires that both partners consent to a pregnancy.

Now, after exhausting her options in the British system, Ms Evans has been told by the European Court of Human Rights that her right to become a parent in a genetic sense did not deserve greater respect than her former fiance’s right not to have a child with her.

The case has been widely followed in Britain. Columnist Mary Kenny declared that giving Ms Evans a chance to try for a child was both pro-choice and pro-life: “the woman’s choice should take precedence”. And former Marxist Mick Hume, of Spiked, used the case to inveigh against a “human rights culture”: “The harsh fact is that nobody can be granted the human right to have a baby or a family life. Nobody can be guaranteed the human right not to be unhappy.”