Reports out of Israel claim parents have obtained legal permission to extract a child’s eggs and freeze them after she died in a car accident. The order was issued after the initial request to fertilize the eggs was denied. The issue of egg removal after death is one that has come up on occasion, but only regarding adults who had wanted to have children and spouses or partners who wanted to fulfill that dream even if it happened after the death of the woman they loved. This time around, however, the eggs were extracted from a 17-year-old child by the parents of that child, which brings the question – do parents control their child’s eggs?
Fertility, Parenthood and Life after Death
It is extremely important to note that the parents involved with the case wanted to have the eggs fertilized with donor sperm, so there is no attempt at incest or any other immoral act of the sort. But, the act of removing the eggs and freezing them, likely in an attempt to have the original ruling overturned, is a bit obscure and weird by western standards – but what about the standards of other countries and cultures?
There is little information being reported from the parent’s side of the story, but there are tons of opinions and possible legal and moral ramifications being verbalized along the way. One opinion even claimed that the 17-year-old could not have been mature enough to decide she wanted to be a parent in life, let alone in death. This idea is a bit lost on me. It wasn’t that long ago that women who reached child-bearing age were married off at 13 or 14 years old. Those women started families before they reached 17, so is it so far-fetched to think this young woman had not thought about motherhood and possibly even expressed her interest in becoming a mother? My 13-year-old daughter is quite set on having five children. She is wonderful with kids and wants to be a kindergarten teacher and while I believe she is too young to have children I don’t believe she is too young to make the mature choice that she wants to be a mother one day.
The story is likely to develop more and both sides of the medical/moral line will speak up for and against the matter, but one thing is certain – this young woman was mature enough to make many choices in life and if one of those choices was to be a mother and science can make that choice a reality, do we really have a say in her parent’s choice?