A 46-year old woman failed to win the right to have five embryos implanted into her womb during IVF (in vitro fertilisation) treatment. The woman, who has had eight unsuccessful IVF attempts wants to have more embryos implanted in her next attempt, to increase the likelihood of getting pregnant. She and her doctor, Mohammed Taranissi, head of the private Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Unit in London, went to court to challenge the rule that says doctors should implant no more than three embryos at one time.
Mr Taranissi and the woman, who has not been named, sought a judicial review of the guidelines laid down by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which they claimed were irrational. The HFEA, however, maintained that to implant more than three embryos creates an 'unacceptable risk' of the mother becoming pregnant with triplets or more babies, which could put the babies in danger.
Mr Taranissi says that the HFEA is restricting the freedom of doctors to assess patients on a case by case basis. He said 'there shouldn't be one rule for everybody. It's wrong in principle. Even if the three-embryo rule is right for 95 per cent of people, they have to acknowledge that a small percentage will be compromised by this blanket approach.'
Mr Justice Ousley in the High Court ruled that Mr Taranissi had no arguable case against the decision of the HFEA. The woman has vowed to take her case to the Court of Appeal, and may try to take a case against the HFEA under the Human Rights Act.