In what some are calling a incredible case of enduring love, a South Australian mother gave birth to a baby that was conceived using sperm collected after the father’s death. The woman (who cannot be named for legal reasons) faced not only impossible odds medically, but a legal fight with the Supreme Court.
According to the Mirror, it was a world-first. Doctors took the sperm from the father 48 hours after he was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident, and used it to create a healthy baby.
Previously, the record belonged to a baby who was conceived with sperm taken 30 hours after the father’s death.
IVF expert Steve Robson said it was an amazing case.
“On a professional level this has been, from my perspective, a love story, and it has been incredible to be involved with helping a woman who has so much love and courage. We were impressed with the amount of love this woman had, and her tremendous endurance against all the obstacles she faced.”
Of course, breaking the duration record was not part of the plan.
According to the Daily Mail, the woman had to petition Adelaide’s Supreme Court for permission to take the sperm after her husband died.
In South Australia, sperm can only be used after death if it is taken while the man is still alive. To get over this legal burden, she had to prove that she and her husband were planning to have children before the motorcycle accident.
The court still ruled that the procedure had to be done in nearby Canberra. In total, the legal delays took two days, which made doctors concerned that the sperm’s DNA would have been damaged at that point.
Doctors also struggled with the ethical dilemmas surrounding the case. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, she was turned down by a number of doctors before Professor Kelton Tremellen reluctantly agreed to collect the father’s sperm.
“One reason was that I thought it was going to be a waste of time, and the other was I didn’t know if it was the right thing to do. In the end I decided I would do it because I felt it wasn’t a battle she should have to fight at that point when she had just lost her husband.”
Despite all the doubt and obstacles, the woman became pregnant on the first attempt.
The Mirror reports that some conservative groups consider taking the father’s sperm after death unethical, regardless of the circumstances. But in the end, Professor Tremellen said the baby and mother are healthy and happy, and that other peoples’ opinions weren’t really relevant.
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