604 Now

B.C. Woman Can’t Use Sperm From Deceased Husband, Court Rules

BC Gender Transition

A B.C. woman recently lost her fight in court to preserve her late husband’s sperm.

Her husband unexpectedly died in October 2018 and did not leave a will.

So, within hours of his death, the woman, whose name has been withheld, made a plea to the court to approve the removal of her husband’s sperm.

RELATED: Woman In Hospital Parking Lot With Injured Foot Told To Call 911 For Ambulance

The couple recently had a child before the husband’s (known as D.T) death. But the couple had both agreed they wanted more kids in the future, to give their daughter siblings.

The sperm has sat frozen since October 2018, while the court determined the legal implications of giving rights over to another person’s reproductive material.


B.C. Case Determines Sperm Ownership

But the B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Masuhara reluctantly dismissed the petition.

Masuhara explained that while he understood both parents likely did want a larger family, they needed to formalize those wishes in writing, before the case of death.

“Regrettably, that is not the case here,” he wrote in the 12-page ruling.

The couple had been married for three years before D.T.’s death.

Masuhara wrote there was evidence showing that D.T. looked forward to having more children and enjoyed being a parent.

But when it came to writing a will, “Like most other young couples, they had not put their minds to that circumstance,” Masuhara wrote.

The judge pointed to a similar case, where a young man had not written it in his will that he wanted his sperm to be stored. But he had made the point clear to his wife, a nurse and a social worker.

D.T.’s wishes were never made clear in that way, which was a factor in Masuhara’s decision to reject the woman’s case.

According to the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, taking reproductive material is prohibited without proper consent.

“No person shall remove human reproductive material from a donor’s body after the donor’s death for the purpose of creating an embryo unless the donor of the material has given written consent,” it says.

The wife argued that the sperm was essentially her property, but the judge rejected that claim.

For more B.C. news read about the plans for Surrey’s new hospital. Or catch up on new statistics about how safe Uber rides are.

For more Vancouver news, read out News section.


Log in or create an account to save content

Become a local insider