J Med Ethics 30:384-388 doi:10.1136/jme.2003.004432
  • Reproduction

Woman wants dead fiancé’s baby: who owns a dead man’s sperm

  1. M Spriggs
  1. Correspondence to:
 M Spriggs
 Ethics Unit, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, RCH, Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia;


    The Brisbane Supreme Court has denied an Australian woman’s request to harvest and freeze her dead fiancé’s sperm for future impregnation. After she was denied access to the sperm, the woman learnt that her fiancé may have been a sperm donor and she began checking to find out if his sperm was still available. Given what we know, there is a good ethical argument that the woman should have access to the sperm and should be allowed to have her dead fiancé’s child.

    Another aspect of this case is that it illustrates the way in which ethics, law, and personal opinion can differ.


    • * Reproducible tissues or gametes are covered by separate legislation in Australia and the United Kingdom.