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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

PLATELL'S PEOPLE: Mother, 59, who needs help with grief - not an IVF baby

The death of a child — whatever their age — is a sorrow that no parent should have to endure.

I understand that more than most, having watched my own parents weep at the graveside of their first-born son, my brother Michael, who died of cancer aged 40.

So I feel enormous compassion for the 59-year-old woman who lost her beloved daughter to bowel cancer aged 28, and who made the headlines this week after launching a remarkable legal battle.

The mother — who cannot be named — is fighting for the right to use her dead daughter's eggs, which were frozen and placed in storage before she started chemotherapy.

The woman wants them fertilised and implanted in her own womb so that she can act as a surrogate mother to her own grandchild.

While I have the greatest sympathy for her loss, and understand her desire to bring a part of her daughter back to life, her campaign is surely so very wrong.

Set aside for a moment that, at the age of 59, the chances of her even being able to carry a healthy child to full term are remote.

Forget, too, that British clinics have refused to carry out the procedure, forcing her to seek permission through the courts to have the eggs shipped to America, where doctors have agreed to help.

Surely the greatest barrier to her proceeding is the confusion it would create in any child that resulted — a child that was the offspring of a dead mother and an anonymous sperm donor, carried in its grand-mother's womb.

Modern science facilitates such lunacy without a thought for the consequences and too many doctors are willing to go along with it.

But behind this particular case there also lies the sad story of a parent who is simply unable to come to terms with her grief.

As we celebrate the anniversary of VE Day, we should all be reminded of the stoicism of that generation who were able to cope with death and grief with a dignity that often eludes us today. They lost husbands, wives, sons and daughters, but they carried on.

And in a strange way their losses made them love those who remained all the more; in their sorrow for the dead, they learned to hold the living even tighter. And we were a better society because of it.

Yes, I feel for this mother's heartache. But I hope she can find a way to cherish the memories of the child she lost instead of trying to create a new one in the laboratory.

Socialite Poppy Delevingne, big sister of model Cara, wore a dress festooned with huge red poppies to the Met Gala in New York.

'I'm going as opium,' she quipped. Stupid girl. As the daughter of a former heroin addict mother, you'd have thought even an airhead like her would have known better.

Charles is as bad as Carole

Prince Charles may have lost the race to be the first doting grandparent to meet Princess Charlotte — Carole Middleton beat him again — but he was the first to capitalise on her birth.

Within days, he was cashing in by offering such items as a Happy & Glorious baby blanket for £94.95 through his Highgrove website.

If Carole's Party Pieces business had done that, she'd have been branded a shameless opportunist — and rightly so. It's no different for Grandpa Charles, even if the money does help his charities.

Groping around for rating

Phillip Schofield has defended This Morning's latest headline-grabbing stunt — a topless model filmed, in gratuitous detail, being examined for breast cancer by a male doctor.

'The thing that makes me most proud . . . are the moments when you feel you've genuinely made a difference,' said Schofield.

OK then, Phillip, how about volunteering to be checked for prostate and testicular cancer while the cameras roll?
On second thoughts, don't.

Cameron must take axe to biased Beeb

Just before the polls closed on Thursday night, the BBC delivered its verdict on the three main party leaders' performance. Ed Miliband, they said, had 'exceeded all expectations' and 'grown in stature'.

No such tributes for Cameron, the man who really exceeded expectations.

It was a typically biased and wrong-headed conclusion to weeks of spectacularly one-sided election coverage from the Beeb.

Throughout the campaign, its airwaves and website were even more blatantly Left-wing than usual, with each day's bulletins almost always leading with Labour's latest initiative, or Red Ed's rebuttals to Tory proposals.

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