24 May 2011
Landmark case to access deceased husband's sperm applauded
IVFAustralia welcomes the Supreme Court ruling allowing Ms Edwards access to her deceased husband’s sperm and wishes her all the best in her quest to have the child she desires.
Media interest around this case has prompted questions from many about this tragic situation.
As reported in the media NSW Supreme Court Justice Robert Allan Hulme has granted Ms Edwards entitlement to the sperm of her late husband Mark Edwards who died in a workplace accident on August 5 2010, the day before he and Jocelyn Edwards were due to sign consent forms to begin IVF treatment.
When commencing any form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) there are detailed consent forms to be completed to clarify the express wishes of the couple regarding use of sperm, eggs and embryos (gametes) posthumously if indeed some terrible act of fate occurred.
In NSW all ART treatment is governed by the NSW Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2008, which clearly states that gametes can not be used unless there is express written consent.
Queensland and the ACT do not have specific state ART laws rather they rely on the Federal Government’s 2007 ethical guidelines which require “clearly expressed and witnessed” consent, but not written consent.
The judge said Ms Edwards could not use the sperm for assisted reproductive treatment in NSW, because the law required the provider's written consent.
However, he noted it was possible she could obtain such treatment in another state or a territory, or perhaps even overseas.
"... The evidence before me is clear that any child that will be conceived will be born to a loving mother and with a supportive extended family," the judge said.
“This is an exceptional case, Ms Edwards has had to undergo such a lengthy ordeal during her grief for the loss of her husband. Ms Edwards gained a court order to allow the posthumous retrieval of sperm from her husband, and storage at the IVFAustralia laboratory pending a judicial decision. Justice Hulme has now ruled that the sperm, which he deemed to be "property" in this case, could be released to Ms Edwards who "is entitled to possession" of it,” Said A/Prof Peter Illingworth Medical Director IVFAustralia.
IVFAustralia (Including Hunter IVF) has sister clinics in QLD, Queensland Fertility Group and Victoria, Melbourne IVF.
MEDIA: For Further information please call Nicole Phillips - 0408 280 499