Whose sperm is it anyway?

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 05 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:837

A 30 year old widow who wants to be inseminated with her dead husband's sperm took the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to the High Court in London this week.

Semen samples were taken from the 30 year old man at his widow's request as he lay in a coma after contracting bacterial meningitis. But the authority insists that the samples cannot be used without the written consent of the husband, who was dead within four days of falling ill.

As the BMJ went to press, the unprecedented case was due to go to the High Court on Wednesday for a two day hearing. Lord Robert Winston, professor of fertility studies at Hammersmith Hospital, London, …

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