While the will of the now-deceased sister requests a handover of the eggs, surrogate motherhood is outlawed in Sweden. As a result, the would-be mother decided to appeal to Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) to see if it would allow an exception.
“When, together with my parents, we buried our dear sister/daughter, we had one heartfelt wish – that I could carry my sister’s baby and thereby keep her genetic heritage for posterity,” the woman wrote to the Board, according to the Dagens Medicin newspaper.
The deceased woman’s will states:
“I pass over all the ownership rights of these functioning eggs to my sister. It is my deepest wish that they will be used for invitro fertilization after my death,” according to the paper.
Now, the sister is asking for permission to take the eggs to her home country, where surrogate mothering is legal.
Over a dozen European countries allow surrogate motherhood, and officials have made a recent push for an amendment to the laws.
The Swedish National Council on Medical Ethics (Statens medicinsk-etiska råd, SMER) published a report last month writing that it sees no problem in allowing surrogate motherhood and embryo donation, provided it’s not for financial gain.
“The majority of the council even decided it would be ethically acceptable – under certain conditions – to use unfertilized eggs from deceased people,” Lotta Eriksson, secretariat at the council, told The Local.
“While the Swedish law does not allow surrogate motherhood, it’s not actually clear who ‘owns’ the eggs. The legal system is unclear, and it’s up to the National Board of Health and Welfare”.
Representatives from the Swedish Women Doctors Association and the Swedish Women’s Lobby have strongly defended the law, however, arguing that surrogate motherhood is a serious crime against women’s human rights.
When contacted by The Local, a spokesperson from the National Board of Health and Welfare indicated that the woman’s request remains under review, but refused to comment further on the case.