DIANE BLOOD, the woman who won a legal battle to have a child by her dead husband, made medical history last night by giving birth to a baby boy.
Her long fight was rewarded at 8.15pm at Sheffield's Jessop Hospital when Liam Stephen Blood was successfully delivered, weighing in at a healthy 5lb 13oz.
Mrs Blood's father, Mike McMahon, said: "I am absolutely thrilled. They are both fine, but she is still sedated so it's too early for her to comment."
Mrs Blood and her 30-year-old husband, Stephen, were planning to have children when he was struck down with meningitis and died in February 1995.
She persuaded doctors to remove sperm from his body while he was on a life-support machine to keep their dream of a family alive.
But because it was taken without Mr Blood's consent, doctors were not allowed by law to release it from where it was being kept in storage.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority objected because Mrs Blood, who had been married to her husband for four years, had not got his written consent.
Mrs Blood, now in her early 30s, then launched a long and emotional legal battle to win the right to take the sperm abroad in order to undergo fertility treatment banned in this country.
The Court of Appeal decided last February that she did have the right under European law, and a Belgian clinic, the Brussels Free University, agreed to carry out insemination procedure.
Paul Plante, a friend of Mr Blood who set up the Stephen Blood Baby Appeal last year, described the safe arrival of Mrs Blood's baby as "absolutely brilliant".
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies