Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

A woman’s second attempt to be granted the legal right to use her late husband’s sperm to have another child has been struck down in B.C.’s Court of Appeal.

The woman, referred to as Ms. T., lost her husband after he died “suddenly and unexpectedly,” according to court documents made public on Wednesday (Nov. 25). The pair had been married for three years and had one child together.

While they had talked about growing their family, they never discussed what would happen if one or the other died – specifically to do with posthumous use of their reproductive material.

On Wednesday, the appeals court was dealt the task of considering how Ms. T’s yearning to give her child a full biological sibling worked within the legal framework of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act. That legislation prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without the donor’s prior, informed or written consent.

In the initial hearing, in which a judge struck down Ms. T’s request, she argued that many people do not know about this legislation and that while the federal government contemplated rolling out education on this act, they have yet to provide any.

While the appeals judges agreed, they determined the aspects of required consent were clearly stipulated within the law.

Ms. T also argued that reproductive material in some instances has been recognized as property, citing a decision from 2016 involving the Genesis Fertility Clinic. The judges determined that in that instance, the donor – who was suffering from a life-threatening medical condition – had consented for the removal of his reproductive material while he was alive.

Although in that instance the written consent was not complete, there was enough evidence to show overall consent.

In their reasoning, the three appeals judges determined that Mr. T likely would have consented to the posthumous use of his reproductive material if he had considered the issue. However, granting the widow permission to use her husband’s sperm would be contrary to the explicit language found within the act – set to protect the donor’s interest, they ruled.

The appeal was dismissed.

“I do so with regret, aware of the painful and tragic circumstances confronting Ms. T’s family,” Justice Harris wrote in the ruling’s conclusion.

“Given the circumstances, I would stay the order of this court for 60 days to permit the parties to consider their position on an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

Court

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

Crystal Johns used her lunch break to film her audition video for the Vancouver Canucks.
VIDEO: Former Vees anthem singer wants to bring her voice to the Canucks

Crystal Johns made her audition tape during a lunch break

Snow covers Main Street in downtown Penticton Monday morning, Jan. 25, 2021.
First snowfall of 2021

Chances of light snow all week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News file)
Two Kelowna flights flagged for COVID-19 onboard

The flights were on Jan. 14 and 18

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Most Read