Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024

62-year-old woman granted permission to extract sperm from deceased husband



Supreme court allows widow to pursue IVF plans following tragic loss

In a poignant legal battle, a 62-year-old woman has secured approval from the Supreme Court to extract sperm from her deceased husband for potential in vitro fertilization (IVF). The woman, who remains unnamed, presented her case in an ‘urgent’ hearing after her husband’s sudden demise on December 17, following the tragic loss of both their adult children in separate accidents.

The couple, married for 39 years, had contemplated having a third child to cope with the devastating losses. Despite the woman’s age, fertility testing revealed the viability of her husband’s sperm for IVF, prompting discussions about using a surrogate for conception.

After the husband’s passing, the widow sought to have the spermatozoa tissue extracted at the hospital, but her request faced delays. Justice Fiona Seaward, hearing the case, criticized the hospital’s lack of immediate action and granted permission for the tissue removal from the deceased husband, currently at a morgue in Perth.

Justice Seaward expressed disappointment at the need for urgent court intervention, highlighting the emotional toll on the applicant. She emphasized that the husband likely wouldn’t have objected to posthumous sperm extraction.

While Western Australia prohibits the use of reproductive cells after death, the widow’s pursuit of conception faces additional legal hurdles. An application to the Reproductive Technology Council would be required to export the sperm to a jurisdiction where posthumous fertilization is permissible.

Roger Hart, Professor of Reproductive Medicine at the University of Western Australia, acknowledged the medical feasibility but raised ethical considerations. He suggested that counselors and psychologists would play a crucial role in determining the appropriateness of the widow’s quest for posthumous IVF.

The Reproductive Technology Council, tasked with evaluating the husband’s expressed wishes, the widow’s support network, and other specific circumstances, will play a pivotal role in deciding the fate of this unique and emotionally charged case.


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