Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Advanced Search

Search for

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook



France allows export of dead man's sperm

13 June 2016

By James Brooks

Appeared in BioNews 855

A Spanish woman has been allowed to have her dead husband's cryopreserved sperm transported from France to Spain despite a French ban on the exportation of gamete for posthumous insemination.

The decision from the State Council overrules an earlier ruling of a lower tribunal which denied Mariana Gomez-Turri access to her husband's sperm.

Gomez-Turri had been living in France with her husband, Nicola Turri, when he developed lymphatic cancer. Prior to chemotherapy, Turri had his sperm cryopreserved so that he could still have children with Gomez-Turri should the treatment make him infertile. The treatment was unsuccessful, however, and Turri, who was Italian, died in July 2015.

After his death, Gomez-Turri returned to Spain. She had hoped to use the sperm for IVF as posthumous insemination is legal there, but the French tribunal's decision went against her.

However, the State Council said that if French law - which prohibits both posthumous insemination and export of gamete for that purpose - were to be applied in this case, it would jeopardise 'in a manifestly excessive way, the claimant's right to respect for his private and family life'.

The State Council nonetheless maintained that French law on posthumous insemination was compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The council also related that Gomez-Turri had returned to Spain 'without the intention to bypass the French law' but then faced 'a situation in which the exportation of the gametes stored in France was the only way for her to exercise her right under Spanish law'.

David Simhon, a lawyer instructed by Gomez-Turri, said that the decision was 'extraordinary', in the sense of being out-of-the-ordinary, and was therefore appropriate considering his client's 'exceptional situation'. Simhon added that, following the decision, Gomez-Turri hoped for the transport of Turri's gametes to occur 'in the shortest possible time, in the best possible conditions'.


18 September 2017 - by Shaoni Bhattacharya 
An Australian court is considering whether a woman can use her dead partner's sperm to have a baby...
11 July 2016 - by Kriss Fearon 
A couple whose daughter died of cancer, leaving frozen eggs in storage, has recently won the right to have their request for export reconsidered by the HFEA. There are a number of troubling features of the case which deserve proper scrutiny...
04 July 2016 - by Emma Nottingham 
The case of Samantha Jeffries - a widow who is trying to save the embryos she created with her husband before his death - holds lessons both for fertility clinics and for the HFEA...
27 June 2016 - by Ryan Ross 
The widow of a Falklands veteran is going to the High Court in an attempt to stop the couple's frozen embryos from being destroyed...
20 June 2016 - by Chee Hoe Low 
The parents of a dead Australian man whose sperm has been cryopreserved have said that they will block any attempts by his fiancée to use his sperm in an IVF attempt...

27 April 2015 - by Kirsty Oswald 
A French appeals court has granted a woman the right to adopt a child her wife conceived overseas via artificial insemination...
29 September 2014 - by James Brooks 
France's top civil court, the Court of Cassation, has ruled that children conceived via assisted reproduction overseas can be adopted by same-sex parents...
10 February 2014 - by James Brooks 
Fonzy doesn't so much apply the formula of sperm-donor comedy 'Starbuck' as drop it like a concrete slab on an entirely different cultural context...

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust


Public Conference
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation