Grieving Northamptonshire widow's desperate plea for right to have husband's child

"I think it’s disgusting that I have to prove anything to the court. He was my husband and I want his child. It’s something we both wanted."

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 8:15 am

A grieving Brackley widow, whose husband died of a brain tumour almost two years ago, is facing a costly High Court battle over the right to use his frozen sperm for IVF.

Jade and Daniel Payne had longed to have children and were pursuing plans to start IVF when, in September 2019, Daniel received the shocking news that the brain tumour he had been living with for more than a decade – a grade two astrocytoma – had grown.

The couple, who had delayed starting a family until after they were married in June 2018, was forced to wait even longer after discovering that Daniel needed to undergo chemotherapy treatment.

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Daniel and Jade Payne.

Sadly, his condition deteriorated and they were instead left making arrangements for him to receive end-of-life care at their home in Brackley.

Daniel’s sperm was frozen in 2010 before he was treated for testicular cancer a second time. He sadly passed away from his brain tumour on December 23, 2019 and, after mourning his death, Jade decided she was ready to pursue IVF using his frozen sperm to have a baby.

She was, however, told that the absence of her name on his original documentation meant that she would have to argue her case for lawful use in the High Court. Jade now has to gather letters from family, friends, a GP and some of Daniel's carers to prove his wishes.

Jade, 35, said: "I think it’s disgusting that I have to prove anything to the court. He was my husband and I want his child. It’s something we both wanted – we were planning it together and then he died before we got the chance.

“After everything we went through in our 10 years together, the next step was to have a child of our own. We’d chosen baby names, talked about how we wanted the nursery to look, what pram we’d buy, we knew exactly what we wanted.”

Jade now worries about the costs of a legal battle and claims there was no mention of a problem with the documentation when she first visited Oxford Fertility Clinic - where Daniel’s sperm is being stored - in 2014 or when she and Daniel signed documents for NHS-funded IVF at John Radcliffe Hospital in July 2019.

She said she even received a phone call in October 2019 asking if she was ready to collect her drugs to begin fertility treatment, which she declined due to Daniel’s poor health.

The widow, who works as a nanny, continued: “I do understand the legality of not having my name on the original document; it’s something Daniel thought he had taken care of but, even so, he and I have both signed documents since then and he was my husband so you’d think common sense would prevail.

“To have a ‘mini Daniel’ running around would mean the world to me. It’s just a shame I’m going to have to fight for it, especially considering how hard I fought alongside Daniel in his last three months of life.

“If the judge was to say no, it would be heart-breaking. I don’t know what I’d do, probably curl up into a ball, because, in effect, it would be like losing Daniel all over again.”

According to Brain Tumour Research, brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just 1 percent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this disease.

Head of stakeholder relations for Brain Tumour Research, Hugh Adams, added: “At a time when Jade and Daniel should be planning their family together as husband and wife, Daniel has been taken away by this devastating disease, leaving Jade to face the future alone.

"We will be thinking of Jade as we approach Christmas and the anniversary of Daniel’s death. This will be such a difficult time of year for her, as it is for many families affected by brain tumours.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

To support Jade with her legal costs, you can donate to her fundraising page by visiting www.gofundme.com/f/help-jade-raise-funds-for-high-court-battle.