Sunday, 11 August 2013

Woman Makes History By Extracting Dead Husband's Sperm To Make Babies...Against The Law

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A British widow has made legal history by using her dead husband's sperm to try to conceive a child – even though it is still against the law, according to Britain's Daily Mail reports.

The high-flying businesswoman had his sperm extracted without his consent in an 'act of desperation' while he was in a coma and close to death with a heart condition.

It is against UK law to take, store, transport and use in IVF a man's sperm without his written consent. The businesswoman – who wishes to be referred to as 'Ms H' – has since his death undergone fertility treatment abroad and is now waiting to find out if she is pregnant.

Ms H, who is in her early 40s, obtained an emergency ruling by a judge to have her husband's sperm extracted because he was so close to death.

The judge agreed to the procedure being carried out to allow her time to find proof of his consent.

Despite this never being produced, she was later permitted to take the sperm to another country to begin IVF treatment.

Ms H's case is the first time a British woman has gone ahead with such treatment without a court hearing.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) did not oppose her bid, meaning the regulatory body effectively supported her and her doctors in breaking the law.

Ms H travelled with the sperm to one of these countries and was implanted last week. Her barrister Lawrence Jones said: 'It was an act of desperation, [but] that was not her only motive. Of course she had only had days within which to think things through, but she is a stable, educated woman who sees the reality of her situation – no matter how dire.

'She was in massive distress, and yet there was also deep love and rationality.'

Both the family of the deceased and that of the businesswoman are supportive of the decision.

Although personal details cannot be fully revealed in order to protect Ms H's identity, The Mail on Sunday has been told the couple met seven years ago and were married two years later in an Islamic ceremony in the UK not recognised by British law.

They had been planning to undergo IVF after initial attempts to become pregnant naturally had failed.

Some 18 months ago, before Ms H and her partner – a financial executive – were able to commence fertility treatment, he fell into a sudden coma due to a previously undiagnosed heart condition.

Doctors advised that he was unlikely to regain consciousness, and that his condition was fatal. Aware that her partner may not have long to live, Ms H appealed to their medical team to extract his sperm so that it may be stored and used at a later date.

Initially the team refused as she could not provide any evidence of his consent and he was unable to give it. Such action could be legally classed as assault.

Her case follows that of Diane Blood, whose husband Stephen fell into a coma after developing bacterial meningitis in 1995 and later died.

Doctors extracted his sperm while he was unconscious. The HFEA instructed UK fertility clinics not to treat Mrs Blood.

However, after a traumatic two-year legal battle, the Court of Appeal ruled that it was her human right to travel to a different country to have IVF using Stephen's sperm. However, it also ruled that this was only because of the unique circumstances of the case and it must not set a precedent.

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