BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Interview: Posthumous Conception

24 August 2023

During a BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour interview with Anita Rani on 24 August 2023, Louisa Ghevaert was pleased to discuss posthumous conception law alongside Lauren McGregor, who gave birth to a son (Seb) in 2022 using  her husband’s stored sperm following his death from a brain tumour in July 2020.

Lauren and Chris had known each other since childhood and they started a relationship in April 2012 just nine months before he fell ill in 2013 aged 37. At first, his symptoms were mild and then following scans and tests he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and he underwent surgery in March 2014 which removed 95 percent of the tumour. However, Chris’ tumour returned in 2016. Before starting six weeks of radiotherapy and six months of chemotherapy in 2017, he froze his sperm as the treatment was likely to affect his fertility. In doing so, he filled in and signed consent forms at the fertility clinic consenting to the posthumous use of his sperm in fertility treatment by Lauren in the event of his death. He and Lauren had spoken about having a baby for years and they had agreed they wanted to become parents together.

Very sadly, Chris was diagnosed with a second tumour on the other side of his brain in November 2019 and he passed away in July 2020. After grieving for nine months, Lauren underwent successful posthumous IVF fertility treatment with Chris’ sperm and gave birth to a son in May 2022. This was made possible because Chris had completed and signed the relevant consent forms at the fertility clinic to enable Lauren to use his sperm in fertility treatment after his death.

Louisa highlighted the importance of correctly completing and signing the relevant consent forms at UK fertility clinics to lawfully consent to storage and use of eggs, sperm and embryos in fertility treatment and surrogacy in life as well as death. She explained that in the absence of the correct written and signed posthumous conception consent, there is no legal right to use a deceased loved-one’s eggs, sperm or embryos to posthumously conceive a child in the UK and this can result in complex legal proceedings. Individual fertility and biological legacy is precious and fragile and it can be lost through illness, accident, medical negligence, accident and age. This makes it important to take proactive legal and practical steps to protect your own and loved-one’s fertility and family building plans and not leave this to chance.

To listen to the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Interview as part of Listener Week click here.

You can find out more about posthumous conception law here.

Need a fertility lawyer or a family lawyer? If you would like to discuss posthumous conception, family building, legal parentage, children laws or advisory and consultancy to navigate fertility, pre-conception, pregnancy, birth and family life contact Louisa Ghevaert by email  or by telephone +44 (0)20 7965 8399.

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