A 62-year-old Australian woman was given the right to extract sperm from her deceased husband and is facing a legal battle to be able to use it.
According to the New York Post, the woman was looking to conceive a child via surrogate when her 61-year-old husband passed away last month. The woman, whose name was not published, presented an “urgent” case to the Supreme Court to have her husband’s sperm tissue removed from his body.
Before the husband’s death, the two were reportedly discussing having another child after their 29-year-old daughter drowned on a fishing trip in 2013 and their 30-year-old son died in a car accident in 2019.
However, the use of reproductive cells after death is against the law in Western Australia, where the woman lives. She will have to apply to the country’s Reproductive Technology Council to use the sperm in another state where it is legal to do so (via NYP):
While the wife had been told that she could not conceive due to her age, the husband’s sperm was previously tested and deemed suitable for in-vitro fertilization, wherein a female egg is fertilized by male sperm in a lab before being implanted in the carrier.
The woman’s cousin, who is in her 20s and lives in the Philippines, had even volunteered to be the couple’s surrogate, the court heard.
At the time of the man’s death, however, the couple was still grappling with legal obstacles to the surrogacy, which would have required them to live in the Philippines for a while, the documents explained.
University of Western Australia Professor of Reproductive Medicine Roger Hart told ABC that it is “all feasible” to have the child, but that “the child will never know its dad.”
“We do know that sperm from older men, whether it’s posthumous, or from fresh sperm does have a higher rate of chromosome abnormalities deletions within the sperm, which pose a greater risk of the child born…So these are other things the woman will be counseled about,” Hart concluded.
The woman was married to her husband for 39 years, ABC added.
“But it’s whether it’s the right thing to do … counselors, psychologists would be the best people to make that judgment,” Hart explained.