Court: Wife, 62, Can Have Dead Man's Sperm Retrieved

But the Western Australia woman can't use it
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2024 1:10 PM CST
Court: Wife, 62, Can Have Dead Man's Sperm Harvested
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/LYagovy)

A 62-year-old Australian woman has been allowed to remove sperm from her dead husband—but not use it. The Guardian reports the unnamed woman's husband, 61, died at home on Dec. 17 and his body was transported to a Western Australia hospital. But after Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital declined to hastily assign a "designated officer" to retrieve the sperm while it remained viable, the woman asked a court to force the hospital's hand. As the Australian state doesn't allow "posthumous fertilization," Judge Fiona Seaward said that her order, dated Dec. 21, applied only to the removal of the sperm. The Guardian reports the woman would next need to apply to transfer the sperm to another jurisdiction where the procedure is permitted.

The couple reportedly had two children who died as adults, reports AFP: a 29-year-old daughter who drowned a decade ago while on a fishing trip, and a 31-year-old son who died in a 2019 car crash. The court was told the couple had been discussing having another child together since their son's death. Testing showed the man's sperm was viable, and the court was told that a relative in her 20s who lived in the Philippines had been willing to serve as a surrogate, reports Australia's ABC. But legal regulations there would have required the couple to live in the country for a period of time; the pandemic and a relative's death had reportedly prevented the couple from moving. (This woman had her dead husband's sperm harvested; then things went awry.)

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