Who? Suzi Denton, solicitor at Natalie Gamble Associates.
Why is she in the news? Represented Mr and Mrs M, who won an appeal paving the way for them to use their late daughter’s eggs to conceive a grandchild. Their daughter (A), who died of cancer in her 20s, had stored frozen eggs at a fertility clinic and said she wanted her mother to carry and care for her ‘babies on ice’. However, after A died, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority refused permission for the eggs to be exported for treatment.
Last week, the Court of Appeal upheld the parents’ challenge, saying that it was clear this was what A had wanted. The HFEA will now have to reconsider whether to permit the eggs to be exported to the US for treatment.
Thoughts on the case: ‘Mr and Mrs M’s courage and determination throughout have been unwavering, and the fact that A’s voice has now been heard has brought them some comfort out of great sadness. Consent is one of the most fundamental foundations of the UK’s fertility laws and, although the circumstances of this case are very unusual, the court has rightly upheld the legal principle that it is the person whose eggs or sperm are stored who gets to decide what happens to them.’
Dealing with the media: ‘The case hit the headlines across the globe, even reaching the news in Australia and the US, and featuring as the second item on the BBC news. Given the sad circumstances, we are particularly glad that the media reported this case sympathetically and respected Mr and Mrs M’s wish for privacy after such a long and emotional legal process.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘I wanted to support people through difficult and important times in their lives. It is a constantly motivating job, which only gets more satisfying. I love working as part of the UK’s leading fertility law firm, in such a constructive and fascinating specialism.’
Career high: ‘It’s a privilege to help families who are facing difficult times. Winning this appeal is a definite highlight.’
Career low: ‘After qualifying at one of the UK’s leading commercial firms, I decided to change tack and move into family law. It meant leaving the security of a large firm and stepping into the unknown. At the time it was definitely nerve-racking.’