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Woman conceives IVF baby using dead husband's sperm

19 July 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 267

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 to have a child naturally and, later, using fertility treatment, before Peter Scott was diagnosed with the cancer in 2001. They decided before he died that Diana would go on trying to have his child after his death, and samples of his sperm were stored before he began chemotherapy treatment. Diana underwent four failed courses of IVF and 'had all but given up hope' when, after the fifth attempt, she found out she was pregnant. 'I was delighted when I was told I had conceived', she said. She added that the baby girl she is expecting, due in October, will be 'a lifelong reminder' of her husband.

Because Peter Scott had given his consent to the storage and use of his sperm, Diana did not face the problems that Diane Blood did when she wanted to have her husband's child posthumously. Diane Blood was refused treatment in the UK because her husband was in a coma when his sperm was extracted and could not, therefore, voice his consent. In the end, Mrs Blood travelled to Belgium for treatment, and now has two sons. In September 2003, she finally succeeded in her five-year campaign to have her late husband's name registered as the father on her children's birth certificates.

In March 2003, parliament approved a proposal to amend the HFE (Human Fertilisation and Embryology) Act to recognise the biological fathers of all children conceived posthumously. In September 2003, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Deceased Fathers) Act was passed by the House of Lords and given Royal Assent - coming into force on 1 December 2003. Women, such as Diane Blood, who had already given birth to children conceived posthumously were given a six-month window to re-register the birth of their children. And Mrs Blood estimated that a further five families per year - like Diana Scott - would benefit from the change to the law.

Meanwhile, a court in Japan has ruled that a child born after IVF using a dead man's sperm is legally the man's child. The child was conceived after his father died of leukaemia, but when the child's mother tried to register the birth, the local government refused to allow it, on the grounds that the father had died more than 300 days before the birth date and the normal length of human gestation is about 270 days. The mother filed a lawsuit to have her son legally recognised as the child of his father. The first court ruled against her on the grounds of 'common sense' saying it was impossible to recognise the father-child relationship in such a case. Now, the Takamatsu High Court has overturned the lower court's ruling.

IVF Child Conceived With Dead Man's Sperm is Ruled by Court to be His Child
Lifesite News |  15 July 2004
Our tiny miracle
Daily Express |  16 July 2004
Widow's joy at miracle IVF baby
BBC News Online |  16 July 2004
27 May 2008 - by Evelyn Harvey 
A legal fight by a UK woman to have a child using sperm taken from her husband after his death is underway. The case highlights the need for regulatory clarity on the issue, which first came to prominence in 1995 when Diane Blood won the right to...
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...
11 September 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
The supreme Court of Japan has overturned an earlier ruling that a child born after IVF using a dead man's sperm is legally the man's child. The child was conceived after the man's death from leukaemia in 1999, using his frozen sperm, and born in 2001...
3 December 2003 - by BioNews 
Diane Blood has re-registered the birth of her two sons, born following the use of sperm taken from her dead husband. In September 2003, she succeeded in her five-year campaign to have her late husband's name on her children's birth certificates. Until 1 December, Liam and Joel Blood's birth certificates...
22 September 2003 - by Juliet Tizzard 
This week the law in the UK has been changed to allow the name of men who have died before their child was conceived to appear on that child's birth certificate. It's not a radical change in the law or any great philosophical shift in the way that we regulate...
19 September 2003 - by BioNews 
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...
3 March 2003 - by BioNews 
Diane Blood, the British woman who made legal history by fighting for three years to have a baby by being inseminated with her late husband Stephen's sperm, has had success in her latest legal challenge. Mrs Blood has two children conceived by sperm taken from her husband when he was...
30 April 2001 - by BioNews 
The Government-backed Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Deceased Fathers) Bill was talked out of time by a Tory MP on Friday. In doing so, Desmond Swayne wrecked the legislation that Diane Blood has been fighting for since the birth of her son Liam. As the law stands, Mrs Blood, or anyone...
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