Court permits 62-year-old woman to extract sperm from dead husband to make a baby

The Supreme Court of Western Australia has ruled that a 62-year-old woman is permitted to have sperm extracted from her dead husband. The couple had two adult children who accidentally died. The woman informed the judge that she and her husband had planned to have another child that would be carried by a surrogate. Her cousin in the Philippines apparently volunteered for the role.

However, the use of someone's reproductive cells following their death is banned in Western Australia which makes for a difficult road ahead in this case. The situation also raises ethical questions.

From ABC News:

In handing down her decision, Justice Seaward said she had no reason to believe the woman's husband would have objected to the removal of the sperm tissue from his body after his death[…]

Due to WA's ban on posthumous fertilisation, any application to use the sperm would require an application to the Reproductive Technology Council to export the sperm to another jurisdiction, like Queensland, where posthumous fertilisation is legal.

[University of Western Australia Professor of Reproductive Medicine Roger] Hart said the council would take into consideration whether the deceased man expressed a wish to have a child with his wife, what supportive network there would be around the 62-year-old woman, as well as the specific circumstances of the case.

"The woman is going to have to use donor eggs, because she's 62 and she's also planning to use a surrogate," he said[…]

"We do know that sperm from older men, whether it's posthumous, or from fresh sperm does have a higher rate of chromosome abnormalities deletions within the sperm, which pose a greater risk of the child born," Professor Hart said.

"So these are other things the woman will be counselled about."