Posthumous Conception

Posthumous Conception

If a person wants to conceive a child using a deceased person’s sperm, egg, or embryo, specialist legal advice should be taken.  

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) licensed fertility clinics in the United Kingdom will ask patients to decide what should happen to their stored eggs/sperm/embryos in the event of death or mental incapacity.  It is crucial that any such consent is valid, since it will be too late to rectify any deficiencies or clarify an intention in the event of death or incapacity.

In most cases, it is only possible to use the gametes or embryos where one of the providers has died, where there is a written signed consent to continued storage and posthumous use.  However there are some rare exceptions and it may be possible in some cases to argue that permission should be given to export gametes or embryos overseas to countries where the law might allow treatment in circumstances where English law may not.  

Legal parenthood in posthumous conception cases is particularly complex and the position will vary depending on a number of circumstances. 

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