Louisa Ghevaert acts for couple in frozen embryo time limit case
Who? Louisa Ghevaert, 34, partner at Dorset fertility firm Gamble & Ghevaert.
Why is she in the news? With partner Natalie Gamble, she acted for Melanie and Robert Gladwin in a case that has extended the time limit for storing frozen embryos used in surrogate pregnancies from five to 10 years. Mrs Gladwin had arranged for fertilised eggs to be stored before her treatment for cervical cancer that, she had been told, would render her infertile. The couple have since had a child through a surrogate pregnancy and want another.
But, along with dozens of other British couples, they were told that their embryos, stored more than five years ago, were due for destruction now. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which comes into force in October 2009, will extend the period to 10 years – but that will be some weeks too late for the Gladwins and others. Within 24 hours of the Gladwins delivering a petition to the prime minister, ministers announced a supplementary provision to the forthcoming act that would rule out the destruction of their and others’ timed-out embryos.
Thoughts on the case: ‘We are absolutely delighted we have won a change to the law that benefits not only our clients but also others like them. The Gladwins were determined to preserve their embryos and the outcome is a credit to their persistence. We are still working with the Department of Health to confirm the detail of the changes and the exact time period for which they will be able to store their embryos. The new regulations, which will come into force in October, are a positive step towards simplifying and unifying a complex and cutting edge area of law. We will continue to strive to ensure that all fertility patients benefit from these changes equally.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘This fascinating area of law has the potential to make a huge difference to people’s daily lives and relationships on a very personal level.’
Career high? ‘Launching Gamble & Ghevaert, the first and much-needed fertility specialist law firm.’
Career low? ‘Seeing, on a daily basis, the heartache that infertility can cause.’