The mother of a transgender teen girl who passed away suddenly is fighting a legal battle to honor her daughter’s wishes. Ellie Anderson of Scotland died unexpectedly at age 16, but not before preserving her sperm in the hopes of one day having children. Now, her mother Louise is petitioning to recover the frozen sperm to bring the child her daughter always wanted to life.
Ellie Anderson’s Dream
Louise said that her daughter was born a boy, but had identified as a female since the age of three. Ellie reportedly intended to fully transition upon turning 18. However, she had purposefully delayed taking hormones specifically so that she could freeze some of her sperm, which she did at age 14.
“She froze the sperm because it was very important to her that her children were hers,” Louise told the Sun.
The teen had been preparing financially for motherhood as well, said her mom.
“Ellie was told it would cost around £20,000 for the whole procedure and had already saved £3,000,” the mother said. “She saved all her pocket money, birthday and Christmas cash because this is what she wanted more than anything.”
Ellie’s dream of motherhood was tragically cut short in July when she suddenly fell ill. She was reportedly taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital, where she passed away. News outlets report that the exact cause of death remains “unascertained.”
The Law Intervenes
In the wake of Ellie’s passing, Louise tried to obtain her daughter’s frozen sperm sample in the hopes of making her lifelong dream come true. She had planned to do so with the help of an egg donor and a surrogate.
“She had made me promise that if anything were to happen to her, her children would be brought into the world,” Louise told the BBC.
However, the fertility clinic in possession of the sample told Louise that they could not provide it to her. According to UK human fertilization laws, only a donor’s romantic partner has the right to obtain a sample. Without a partner to release the sample to, the clinic said they would have to destroy it instead.
“It was a blow when I found out they’d destroy the sperm,” Louise said. “I was angry. I knew it meant the end of everything Ellie wanted to happen. I knew I had to fight it.”
Louise now plans to take the case to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Scotland. Solicitor Virgil Crawford, who is representing her, called her case an “unusual, interesting, important and complex legal issue.”
“What we’re trying to achieve would be to get a court order from the court that Ellie’s mum would be entitled to make use of her sperm for the purpose that Ellie intended — that being to create a genetic child of hers and a grandchild for Ms. Anderson,” said Crawford.
Should the request for a court order fail, they hope to convince the court to change the law to allow Louise to obtain Ellie’s sample.
“I’m seeking an assurance the sample will not be destroyed until the issue is resolved,” Crawford told the Sun. “If that is not forthcoming it’s likely an interim interdict will be sought to prevent it.”
Honoring Ellie’s Wishes
Louise also started a Change.org petition calling for the law to be changed. The petition currently has nearly 900 signatures out of a goal of 1,000.
“To go through the trials of freezing your sperm or eggs for them to be callously destroyed despite your wishes is inhumane,” Louise wrote on the petition. “Please help to make a change for everyone and so that I can fulfill my promise to Ellie to have her children. Her death was devastating beyond words, but not being able to carry out her wishes is heartbreaking too.”