Woman gets dying husband’s sperm in court ruling

The woman and her husband had been trying to have a child, including through fertility treatment, before he suffered a sudden and traumatic brain injury.

She made an urgent application through the Court of Protection, which decides on issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions.

The judge also heard submissions from lawyers representing the man, doctors caring for the man and from UK fertility regulator the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). All of them supported the woman’s application.

As a result of this, she was granted permission to have the man’s sperm “retrieved and stored” before he died.

Mrs Justice Gwynneth Knowles said she was satisfied that the man would have wanted his sperm to be retrieved and stored for his wife to conceive if he had been able to decide for himself.

The people involved cannot be identified due to a order made by Mrs Justice Knowles at the time.

The judge had also ruled that nothing could be reported while the man was in the final stages of his life, although lawyers have now said the man has died.

Ayesha Vardag, who represented the woman, said: “The sudden loss of a husband is always devastating, and it is all the more poignant when it is a loving couple who were trying to have a baby together.

“This enlightened and constructive ruling by the Court of Protection, the co-operative approach of the HFEA and the compassion and dedication of the medical teams involved has given a ray of hope to a young widow and the chance to complete their family in the future as the husband had wished.”

She added: “The wife also takes great comfort from the fact that part of her husband’s legacy will be, through this ruling, to help other couples in this tragic situation.”

The judge said she would give details of the reasoning behind her decision in the near future.

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