Pregnant woman aged 58 flees from the press

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The Independent Online
LAWYERS representing the Italian fertility specialist Severino Antinori are threatening legal action against a newspaper to prevent it naming the 58-year-old Englishwoman who is expecting twins.

The woman has said that harassment by journalists threatened to cause her to miscarry and, as a result, she has left her home. Known only as Jennifer F, she is 14 weeks' pregnant, having conceived after Dr Antinori implanted embryos from donated eggs fertilised with her husband's sperm.

According to Dr Antinori, Jennifer F has been losing blood, and is in a highly nervous state. 'She called me, sobbing and saying, 'I'm going to lose my babies.' This woman must not be destroyed. She must not lose her child.'

The relationship between Dr Antinori and his British critics is strained. The final hearing of a defamation case he has brought against Brian Dale, a fertility specialist working in Naples, will be heard by Rome magistrates on 16 November. Dr Dale had written to La Repubblica challenging Dr Antinori's claim that he invented the PZD method of helping infertile men to father children.

Dr Antinori is also locked in a dispute with Dr Simon Fishel, reader in fertility at Nottingham University, who resigned as president of Dr Antinori's Raprui clinic in December 1990.

In the court documents connected with the Dale case Dr Antinori maintains that Dr Fishel has consistently spoken ill of him to scientific colleagues. In a statement, signed last week, he also said Dr Fishel was paid more than pounds 500,000 in 1989 for his work at the clinic, part of it into an account in Jersey.

Dr Fishel denied he was paid anything like that amount, describing the figure as 'ridiculous . . . I was invited by Antinori to establish an international centre for human reproduction. I left because we didn't have the money available for research and development.'

To be a mother at 55, page 4