62-year-old Australian woman wins right to take dead husband's sperm

03 Jan 2024 03:30pm
Photo for illustration purposes only. - 123RF
Photo for illustration purposes only. - 123RF

SYDNEY - A 62-year-old Australian woman can harvest her dead husband's sperm, after convincing a judge the pair were considering having a baby before he died.

The couple started thinking about having another child after their 31-year-old son was killed in a car accident in 2019, according to legal documents released Wednesday.

Six years earlier, their 29-year-old daughter had drowned during a fishing trip.

Spurred by these traumatic events, the couple started investigating whether the 61-year-old husband's sperm could be used to impregnate a surrogate.

After the husband died at home on Dec 17, his wife -- who cannot be named for legal reasons -- asked the hospital morgue to collect and store his sperm.

But the hospital dragged its feet, according to legal documents, forcing the woman to seek an urgent order in the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

Researchers say reproductive tissue should ideally be collected between one and two days after death.

Judge Fiona Seaward agreed the sperm could be harvested and stored but said separate court orders would be needed before it was used for fertilisation.

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The order was made on Dec 21, but was only recently released to the public.

Although unusual, it is not unheard of for sperm to be harvested from dead partners in Australia.

In June 2023, an Australian woman was granted permission to retrieve sperm from her 29-year-old husband, who reportedly died after slashing an artery on a broken window pane. - AFP