Posthumous conception: The public weigh in on post mortem sperm and egg retrieval

Posthumous conception
Posthumous conception

Twenty years after the Court of Appeal passed an historic judgement allowing widow Diane Blood to be inseminated with her dead husband’s sperm, the debate continues with the majority of Brits now in favour of post mortem sperm and egg retrieval

On 6th February 1997, widow Diane Blood won the legal right to use her dead husband’s sperm in an historic Court of Appeal ruling.

On 11th December 1998, Blood gave birth to her first son, and in July 2002, she had her second son, again using her dead husband’s frozen sperm.

In February 2003, Blood claimed another victory when she won the legal battle to have her late husband legally recognised as the father of her children.

Posthumous conception –the process of conceiving using someone’s egg, sperm or embryo after they have died, has gained popularity over the years but has always remained a contentious issue.

New research has now revealed an interesting insight into what appears to be a wider acceptance of posthumous conception across both genders.

A Slater and Gordon research study of over 2,000 Brits revealed that three quarters of us are in favour of a widow being allowed to use her husband’s sperm to posthumously start a family and similarly, two thirds of Brits believe a widower should be allowed to use their wife’s eggs posthumously.

Amongst those who are of the opinion that both a widow and a widower should not be allowed to use their husband’s sperm or wife’s egg posthumously, the main reasoning was that the arrangement would impact the child who would grow up not knowing their deceased father or mother.

Outside the wider debate on whether or not posthumous conception should be allowed for a widow or widower, how many Brits are actually discussing the issue inside their homes with their partners?

Interestingly, men were found more vocal about the issue than women with one in six (16%) saying they have discussed the posthumous use of their sperm with their spouse and an additional 35 per cent saying they will do so in the future. In comparison, only 12 per cent of women have discussed posthumous use of their eggs with their partners.

Despite holding back on the topic, over half (59%) of women said they would be willing of their partner using their eggs after death. Amongst the men, 70 per cent would be willing of their partner using their sperm after death with only one in seven being firmly against it.

Both genders were also found to be in favour of using their partners’ sperms and eggs posthumously –exactly half of the women in the UK said they would want to use their partners sperm.