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Court allows Australian woman to remove deceased boyfriend's sperm

24 October 2016
Appeared in BioNews 874

A woman in Australia has been given permission by the Queensland Supreme Court to extract sperm from her boyfriend after his sudden death.

Ayla Cresswell, 23, sought court approval for the procedure to remove Joshua Davies' 'testes and any spermatozoa' just hours after his death, reports the Courier Mail.

Cresswell told the court: 'He wanted to have three children with me ... I think he would be very proud for me to be their mother.'

Granting the request, Justice Martin Burns said that the sperm should be handed over to a fertility clinic for storage and that another court order would be needed before it could be used.

The couple, who had started their relationship two years before Davies' death, had discussed marriage and had looked at engagement rings while on holiday, Cresswell said.

'Joshua told me that he was very excited at the prospect of being a father, and we often talked about having children and the effect it would have on our lives,' she said.

'Essentially, Joshua told me that having children was a very important element of his life that he wanted to fulfil.'

Her application was supported by Davies' parents. His father said: 'Whilst Joshua never discussed this eventuality, I firmly believe that he would be proud for Ayla to have his children.'

Justice Burns also presided in a similar case involving Leith Patteson (see BioNews 856). Patteson was allowed to remove her fiancée's sperm, but has not yet sought an order to use it. The parents of the deceased man have indicated they intend to resist any such application to use the sperm. 

Meanwhile, a court in Israel has given permission to the family of a solider, Omri Shahar, who was killed in a car accident in 2012, to use his sperm extracted after his death for IVF using a surrogate and to raise the child.

The state had opposed the application on the grounds that the child would be subject to 'planned orphanhood' and would be 'fragile in relation to children from normative families', reports Haaretz. His girlfriend at the time of death said she supported the application, but did not herself want to have children using the sperm.

Israel's health ministry is currently considering introducing a bill to regulate assisted conception in the country, including the posthumous removal of sperm.

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