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Woman wins right to keep husband’s sperm stored at Northampton clinic

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A woman whose late husband’s sperm is stored at a Northampton clinic and who won a High Court case to prevent it being destroyed, has learned the ruling could be appealed.

Beth Warren and husband Warren Brewer, decided to have some of his gametes frozen at the Care Fertility clinic, in The Avenue, when he was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour in 2005.

But when he died, aged 32 in 2012, fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said the clinic would have to destroy the samples in April 2015 as Mr Brewer had not updated written consent forms.

It led to a three-year legal battle as physiotherapist Beth, now 28 and living in Birmingham, said she was not ‘financially’ or ‘professionally’ ready to start a family before then.

Last Thursday, High Court judge Mrs Justice Hogg ruled in her favour, extending the storage time limit to 2060.

However within hours the HFEA won the right to appeal.

Beth, who lived in Buckinghamshire when her and her husband were referred to the Northampton clinic, said: “I’m hoping they decide not to appeal. I’m so tired of fighting and I want to move forward. I feel I won the legal challenge fairly.

“The prospect of having to go through it all again is heartbreaking.”

The High Court ruling judged that the clinic had “failed to give [Mr Brewer] relevant information as to the requirements of the regulations”.

But Beth said the clinic had been supportive in her cause since and believes it is the HFEA regulations that needed changing. She said: “They need to change their paperwork. There’s no box that says ‘I give my wife permission to keep my sperm stored.

“The HFEA has no restriction on you getting pregnant six weeks after you become a widow, but doesn’t give someone the time their husband would clearly want for them to start a family.”

Laboratory manager at Care Fertility Lynn Nice said she was thrilled at the High Court result. She said: “If it allows Clare the time she needs that’s great.”

Beth and Warren married in December 2011. To find out more about Beth’s cause, visit www.
backbethwarren.co.uk

 

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