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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own