Widow begins case to keep dead husband's sperm

Beth Warren wants to keep her late husband's sperm so she can have their children

A widow’s High Court case to preserve her late husband’s sperm has begun.

Beth Warren, a 28-year-old physiotherapist from Birmingham, is challenging a storage time limit imposed on the sperm by the UK’s fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

The limit means Mrs Warren, who uses her late husband’s first name as her surname, has until April 2015 to use Warren Brewer’s sperm to conceive the couple’s child.

Mr Brewer died aged 32 nearly two year ago after he developed a brain tumour. The sample was put in storage before he died

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

The court heard that Mr Brewer, a ski instructor, had signed a consent form allowing the storage of his sperm, but for a limited time.

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

Her lawyer Jenni Richards QC argued that Mrs Warren was not yet “emotionally, physically or practically” ready to conceive, and her husband’s intention was to ensure his sperm could be used by his wife after he died.

“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.”

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

The HFEA argues it has “no discretion to extend the storage period beyond that to which her husband gave written consent”.

Jane Collier, the lawyer representing the organistaion, said officials sympathised with Mrs Warren, but added that Mr Brewer had not given written consent to his sperm being stored beyond April 2015.

But Mrs Warren’s lawyer said the authority was taking an “excessively linguistic and technical approach” and suggested that every option had not been made clear to Mr Brewer.

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.”

The judge has reserved her judgement and said she would deliver a ruling at a date to be fixed.

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project