Widow has to wait for ruling in sperm fight

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A widow is waiting to hear whether she has won a legal fight to preserve her late husband’s sperm.

Physiotherapist Beth Warren, 28, from Birmingham, yesterday challenged a storage time limit, imposed by the UK fertility regulator, in the High Court.

She said the limit meant that she had little over a year to conceive using sperm her husband Warren Brewer, who had cancer and died aged 32 nearly two years ago, had placed in storage.

Mrs Warren, who uses her late husband’s first name as her surname, asked a High Court judge to rule that the sperm could stay in storage for a longer period.

Judge Mrs Justice Hogg heard evidence from Mrs Warren and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

She reserved judgment and said she would deliver a ruling at a date to be fixed.

A lawyer representing the HFEA said officials sympathised with Mrs Warren.

But Jane Collier said Mr Brewer, a ski instructor, had not given written consent to his sperm being stored beyond April 2015.

A lawyer representing Mrs Warren said the authority was taking an “excessively linguistic and technical approach” and suggested that every option had not been made clear to Mr Brewer.

Jenni Richards QC said Mr Brewer had wanted to ensure that his sperm could be used by his wife after his death and had made his intentions clear.

“There is no ambiguity or lack of clarity about what Warren wanted,” said Ms Richards. “His wishes and intentions are clear. He signed every form he was given to sign.”

And Mrs Warren told the court: “I am sure there is absolutely no way he wanted to limit my choices in this situation.”

Diane Blood, who fought a similar battle nearly 20 years ago, was in court to offer Mrs Warren support. In the mid-1990s, Mrs Blood, a 47-year-old writer from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, won a court fight for the right to use her late husband’s sperm.