An Australian woman has been granted permission to impregnate herself with her boyfriend’s sperm two years after he died.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court in Brisbane ruled that Ayla Cresswell, 25, can seek IVF treatment using her deceased partner’s sperm, ending a two-year legal battle.
In August 2016, Cresswell found her partner of three years, Joshua Davies, dead at their home in Toowoomba, Queensland. He had taken his life after a battle with depression.
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With the support of her in-laws, “within hours of Joshua’s death, Ms Cresswell successfully applied for his reproductive tissue and sperm to be extracted and stored”, the Brisbane Times reports.
Since then, the sperm has been kept in storage at an IVF facility while Cresswell battled to circumvent legislation which bans the gathering or use of reproductive tissue for IVF without the written consent of the owner.
At a hearing last year, Cresswell told the court that the couple “were making plans to get married and start a family before he died”, News.com.au reports, and that she had discussed becoming pregnant with her GP a month before Davies’ death.
The court also heard testimony from the deceased’s family and friends, who affirmed Davies’ desire to start a family.
In her ruling today, Justice Sue Brown said she was satisfied “that it is not contrary to Joshua's wishes if [Cresswell] has a child with his sperm”.
“I am also satisfied that Ms Cresswell is acting responsibly and rationally and has taken appropriate steps to ensure that any child that may be conceived is supported and that the extended family will support any child and Ms Cresswell,” she said in the judgement.
Bill Potts, deputy president of the Queensland Law Society, told the ABC that the ruling was a “landmark decision” with “significant” legal implications for developing medical technologies.
“Whilst I'm sure the applicant is overjoyed and she has every right to be, this is an area which is ripe for legislation,” he said. “In the last ten years, the technology has developed where a baby can been born literally from a sperm extracted from a dead person.”
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