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Woman, 62, wins right to harvest dead husband’s sperm to have surrogate baby

The woman whose two children with her partner had died wants to harvest her dead husband’s sperm to have a surrogate baby.

A 62-year-old Australian woman has won the right to 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 in 2019 after their 30-year-old son was killed in a car accident, according to legal documents released on Wednesday. 

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

The pair, who had been married for 39 years, 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 last year, his wife – who cannot be named for legal reasons – asked the hospital morgue to collect and store his sperm.

But the hospital delayed its decision, 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 fertilization.

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Posthumous fertilization is banned in Western Australia, meaning the woman must apply to have the material transferred to another jurisdiction that allows the procedure if she wishes to use it.

The woman told the court she and her husband had discussed having an overseas surrogate carry their child after she had been told by a fertility expert that she was too old to conceive.

She claimed her cousin, believed to be in her 20s and living in the Philippines, had volunteered to be a surrogate.

Testing of her husband’s sperm had deemed it suitable to be used in IVF, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

In her ruling, Judge Seaward said she had no reason to believe the woman’s husband would have objected to the harvesting of sperm tissue from his body after his death.

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

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