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“A dream come true”: Woman with disabilities granted permission for support package allowing her chance to become a mother

A woman with Escobar Syndrome has been granted permission by Isle of Anglesey Council for a 24/7 support package, saying “I am one step closer to achieving my dream of being a mother”.

Posted on 27 March 2024

The woman, who we will call Emily, is in her thirties and lives in Llangefni, Anglesey. Emily has Escobar Syndrome which causes a lack of muscle movement, muscle weakness and joint deformity, however she has lived independently for many years.

Emily has a deeply held desire to be a mother, however it would be too high risk for her to go through a pregnancy. She was approved by the NHS for fertility treatment in October 2021 on condition that she has support to look after a baby. Genetic testing by Genetics Wales showed there is low risk of her child being born with Escobar Syndrome.

Without the support package in place, Emily would have been prevented from accessing the surrogacy and IVF treatment that she hopes will help her become a mother.

In June 2022 an initial Children Services Assessment at Emily’s home indicated that she would require substantial support to raise a child on her own and suggested that the level of care needs represented an insurmountable barrier.

In response, after Emily’s mother said she would help her daughter care for a child, she moved back to the family home to show the council she had the necessary support in place.

In November 2022 an independent assessment, carried out by an expert in the specific needs of disabled parents on behalf of Enabled 2 Parent, concluded that a care package ought to be offered by the Local Authority.

On 16 February 2023 Emily was informed by the Hewitt Fertility Clinic that without a suitable care package being agreed she would be refused fertility treatment.

In April 2023 an updated assessment of Emily’s care needs was carried out after she raised a complaint with the council. It concluded that she would still require 24/7 support, which was deemed unrealistic, or unsustainable and such a high level of support would be harmful to the child. No reason was given for this assertion, which did not reflect that Emily and her mother would be able to consistently provide care for the child.

After initially refusing permission, Emily turned to Leigh Day human rights solicitor Ryan Bradshaw who wrote to Isle of Anglesey Council outlining how its decision to deny her the care package was discriminatory and would be subject to a Judicial Review unless reconsidered. Following this, the council granted permission for Emily to receive the necessary care, meaning that she can now proceed with the next steps in her treatment.

Emily has an ethics meeting on 19 April and she is pre-booked to start fertility treatment on 22 April.

Emily said:

“For me it’s a dream come true. I have always wanted to be a mother and the NHS has said they can fund surrogacy and IVF treatment so that I can have the same chance at motherhood as anyone who does not have disabilities.

“The local authorities made it very difficult for me to get to this point. However, I have shown the Isle of Anglesey Council that I have the necessary support to care for a child, and I am thrilled that they have granted permission for the care package.

“With a support package in place, I know I can parent my own child and I am so relieved that I have been given that chance. To not give me the same chance as an able-bodied person would be discrimination.

“I am excited for the next steps in my journey.”

Ryan Bradshaw, who is based at Leigh Day’s office in Manchester, represents Emily. He said:

“People with disabilities have the right to be provided with the necessary support to raise a child. I am thrilled that Emily can now proceed and will get the chance to become a mother.”

Ryan Bradshaw
Discrimination Employment Human rights

Ryan Bradshaw

Ryan advises on human rights, discrimination and employment law

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