UK widow fights for deceased husband's sperm to be kept in storage

A young widow has launched a High Court fight to preserve her late husband’s sperm.

UK widow fights for deceased husband's sperm to be kept in storage

A young widow has launched a High Court fight to preserve her late husband’s sperm.

Beth Warren, from Birmingham, is challenging a storage time limit imposed by the UK fertility regulator.

She says the limit means that she has until April 2015 to conceive using the sample her husband Warren Brewer, who died aged 32 nearly two years ago after developing a brain tumour, placed in storage.

She is asking a High Court judge to rule that the sperm can stay in storage beyond that limit.

A lawyer began outlining the case to Mrs Justice Hogg at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London today.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has said it has ”no discretion to extend the storage period beyond that to which her husband gave written consent”.

Mrs Justice Hogg has heard that Mr Brewer had signed consent forms allowing the storage of his sperm but on a time-limited basis.

Mrs Warren, a physiotherapist, said she has not had enough time to make decisions and wants the timescale extended.

Jenni Richards QC, for Mrs Warren, told the judge that Mr Brewer had wanted to ensure that his sperm could be used by his wife after his death.

And she said Mrs Warren was not yet “emotionally, physically or practically” ready to conceive.

“There is no ambiguity or lack of clarity about what Warren wanted,” said Ms Richards. “His wishes and intentions are clear. He signed every form he was given to sign.”

And Mrs Warren, 28, told the court: “I am sure there is absolutely no way he wanted to limit my choices in this situation.”

Mrs Warren, who uses her late husband’s first name as her surname, added: “All we knew was every form we were ever given we read and we filled in and we signed it. I found it quite confusing.”

Mrs Justice Hogg is due to hear arguments from lawyers representing the HFEA this afternoon.

She said she would not make a decision today.

A woman who fought a similar legal fight nearly 20 years ago was in court to offer Mrs Warren support.

In the mid-1990s, Diane Blood, a 47-year-old writer from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, won the right to use her late husband’s sperm to try for a child they had planned together before his sudden death from meningitis.

“Mrs Warren got in touch with me,” Mrs Blood, who has two sons aged 15 and 11, told journalists. “I hope she wins.”

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