Y v A Healthcare NHS Trust & Ors [2018] EWCOP 18

The Applicant sought a declaration that, notwithstanding her husband’s incapacity and his inability to consent, it was lawful and in his best interests for his sperm to be retrieved and stored prior to his death.

The Applicant’s husband was involved in a road traffic accident in which he sustained a catastrophic brain injury. Imaging of his brain revealed that he would never recover any function or awareness or indeed regain consciousness. Given the bleak prognosis, the clinical team recommended that, once all the medication had been flushed from his body, they would undertake brainstem testing. If no brain activity was identified, he would be pronounced dead and taken off life support.

Prior to the accident, the couple had started to embark on IVF treatment to provide a brother or sister for their son. The Applicant wished to retrieve her husband’s sperm before he died in order to continue with the treatment.

Mrs Justice Knowles declared that it was lawful for the Applicant’s husband’s sperm not only to be retrieved and stored both before and after his death, but also that it was lawful for his sperm to be used after his death.

The full judgement can be read here.

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