A SHEFFIELD mother is hoping to freeze her eggs to give her infertile daughter the chance to have a child one day – who would genetically be her half brother or sister.
Penny Jarvis, who lives in Hackenthorpe, wants to give two-year-old Mackenzie Stephens the opportunity to have a child after she was born with a rare condition called Turner syndrome, which means she is missing an X chromosome.
The growth syndrome, which affects only girls, means Mackenzie was born without working ovaries, preventing her from ever having a child of her own naturally. She also needs a daily dose of a growth hormone and is partially deaf.
Penny said donating her eggs was something she had always considered and two months ago approached her daughter’s consultant at the Children’s Hospital with the idea. The 25-year-old is now waiting for an appointment with the IVF clinic at the Jessop Wing to see if it is possible.
Penny and Mackenzie’s father, Karl Stephens, said they had received mixed reactions from people, with several comments being posted via a specially formed Facebook site.
She said: “When we got told the news that Mackenzie would not be able to conceive I just broke down and cried. It was heartbreaking and it still is for me and her dad. It’s what most women want to be – a mum. Some people have called me sick and disgusting but others have been positive.
“As far as I see it, it’s just like giving her a limb or being an organ donor. I would give any part of my body for my child. People shouldn’t judge me because they are not in my situation and do not know what it’s like or how it feels.”
Penny hopes one of Mackenzie’s sisters – Morgan, six, Abigail, three, or Jaymie-Leigh, six months – might also one day step in to donate but she wants her eggs to be available if needed. “She might not even want children when she grows up. But I still want the option to be available to her. If Mackenzie then carries that child, the baby will be hers and that’s that as far as I am concerned.”
Although she said some of the negative attention had been upsetting, she was happy to be raising awareness of her daughter’s condition.
But medical ethicists have warned children conceived in this manner could develop psychological problems stemming from their relationships with their mother, who would also be their sister and their grandmother.
A spokesman for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said: “It is important that account has been taken of the welfare of any child who may be born as a result of the treatment and of any other child who may be affected by the birth.”