Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_89036

Posthumous fathers to gain legal recognition

19 September 2003
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 226

Diane Blood has won her campaign to have her late husband's name on her children's birth certificates. Mrs Blood has been campaigning for legislation to be changed in the UK since her two children were born following the use of sperm taken from her husband after he died. Originally, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) refused her permission to use the sperm, but eventually allowed her to seek treatment in Belgium.

Currently, Liam and Joel's birth certificates show the father as 'unknown', because of a provision of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Act 1990. The Government promised to amend the law retrospectively in August 2000, but the resultant Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Deceased Fathers) Bill ran out of parliamentary time in April 2001. Lawyers acting for Mrs Blood then issued a challenge to the birth registration rules under the Human Rights Act 1998.

In February 2003, the judge in the human rights case condemned the actions of the Government, which had fought Mrs Blood's claims for more than three years. The Government's lawyers then agreed to settle the human rights claim before it even went to court. They accepted that the law was 'incompatible' with Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) - the right to 'private and family life'. This meant that the Government was obliged to amend the law.

In March 2003, a private member's bill sponsored by Stephen McCabe MP, was given strong support by the Government. MPs approved the proposal to amend the HFE Act to recognise the biological fathers of all children conceived posthumously, making it compatible with the ECHR. Last week, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Deceased Fathers) Act was passed by the House of Lords and given Royal Assent. Mrs Blood was at Parliament to watch the legislation finally being passed. She said the family would have a party if the legislation was passed. 'It's the end of the story', she said, adding 'I am delighted and relieved that it's all over'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Diane Blood law victory gives sons their 'legal' father
The Guardian |  19 September 2003
Diane Blood sees triumph over paternity law
The Times |  19 September 2003
Paternity victory for Diane Blood
The Daily Telegraph |  19 September 2003
Widow savours victory over naming of father
The Independent |  19 September 2003
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
29 January 2007 - by Katy Sinclair 
By Katy Sinclair: After a four-year battle, an Israeli court has ruled in favour of a family campaigning for the right to use their dead son's sperm in order to inseminate a women that he never knew. Soldier Keivan Cohen was shot dead in Gaza in 2002. His mother, Rachel...
13 February 2006 - by Diane Blood 
A recent report from the Human Genetics Commission (HGC) - the UK government's advisory body on genetics - 'Making Babies: Reproductive decisions and genetic technologies' is the latest in a string of reports designed to help the UK form new legislation on assisted reproduction. I was deeply concerned to read of this...
19 July 2004 - by BioNews 
A British woman is pregnant with her husband's child two years after he died from lung cancer. Diana Scott, who is 44 years old, was implanted with IVF embryos created using her late husband's sperm, which had been in frozen storage since before his death. The couple had been trying...
HAVE YOUR SAY
to add a Comment.

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


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.