Ruling awaited over dead man's sperm

Beth and her husband Warren Image copyright B Warren
Image caption Beth Warren and Warren Brewer were together for eight years

The High Court will rule later on a widow's attempt to prevent her dead husband's sperm from being destroyed.

Beth Warren's husband died from a brain tumour two years ago and she has been told that his sperm cannot be stored beyond April 2015.

The Birmingham woman's lawyers say the regulations defy common sense.

Warren Brewer, 32, had his sperm frozen before having radiotherapy treatment for cancer and signed forms saying his wife could use it if he died.

However, regulations state sperm and eggs can be stored for decades, but individuals must update their consent every few years.

That is no longer possible since Mr Brewer's death - so, under current rules, if the sperm is not used within 14 months it will be destroyed.

Ms Warren, 28, said she is not yet ready to have her dead husband's child, and may never decide to - but wants to keep her options open.

The fertility regulator says it has no discretion to extend the storage period.

The case reopens a long-standing debate about the ethics of posthumous conception.

In 1997 the courts ruled Diane Blood should be allowed to take her dead husband's sperm abroad.

In that case there was never any written consent.

Ms Blood went on to have two sons.

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