Mother wins the right to have baby by dead husband

17:34, 03 February 2009
736 0

A widow has won...

A widow has won the right to have her dead husband`s child, even though he never gave his consent, according to Daily Mail.

In a groundbreaking decision, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has given her permission to use sperm taken from her spouse just hours after he died during routine surgery.

The 42-year-old woman must now travel to America for fertility treatment, as it is illegal to use sperm without written permission from the donor in the UK.

A judge allowed the sperm to be retrieved after hearing that the couple had visited a fertility expert the previous week with the intention of having a child.

Storing samples without written consent is illegal in this country and a High Court case later ruled it should never have happened. But the HFEA has decided to make an exception and allow it to be used.

The widow, from Twickenham, South-West London, wants a brother or sister for her daughter.

She has now been given the go-ahead to have the sample transferred to a U.S. clinic, where she plans to undergo IVF.

The case has prompted a review of the rules surrounding donation. The HFEA will now insist that clinics ask men whether they agree to their sperm beingretrieved or used after they die.

The woman`s lawyer, David Josiah-Lake, said his client, who does not wish to be identified, was `absolutely delighted` with the decision.

He added: `She is thrilled. She now hopes that the treatment she will have will work and that she will be able to have a sibling for her other child.

`We have been trying for well over a year to persuade the HFEA to make this decision and I think that it is down to my client`s perseverance that it went as far as it did. She is very strong and very brave.

`Had (the husband) had the opportunity to give consent in writing, it is clear from the overwhelming evidence that he would have done so.`

The man, in his late 30s, died in June 2007. His wife has already been seen by U.S. specialists and plans to return there in a couple of months.

A spokesman for the HFEA said: `The decision means the sperm may be stored at the clinic concerned for up to three months to allow time for export arrangements to be made.`

The woman`s case was raised in Parliament by her Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable, who proposed an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill last May.

It would place a consultant`s confirmation of a couple`s intention to have children on a par with written consent from the husband.

He said at the time: `This amendment would deal with a small number of specific cases where it is a woman`s right to have a child by her partner.

`In Israel, there are provisions, especially if someone dies in battle.`

Speaking yesterday, he said: `I am absolutely delighted and want to applaud the courage and persistence of my constituent.`

If you see a spelling error on our site, select it and press Ctrl+Enter