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Widow wins case to use dead husband's sperm

In vitro fertilization using sperm.

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An Australian woman has won the right to have a baby with her dead husband, using sperm acquired after he died in a workplace accident.

Mark Edwards, 39, died just one day before he and his wife, Jocelyn, 40, were about to sign consent forms to start fertility treatments. His sperm was extracted posthumously, at his widow's request, and she began the court battle for the right to use it. The issue: In New South Wales, where the case was heard, IVF treatments are prohibited without the donor's consent.

Faced with the choice between destroying the sperm and giving it to Ms. Edward, Justice Robert Hulme ruled it was her property. Ms. Edwards will have to travel elsewhere to have the procedure, however, because of the consent law.

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"It's the right decision. Mark would be so happy, we're going to have our baby. That's what I plan to do," Ms. Edwards told reporters outside the court.

"I just want to get past today, enjoy the moment. It's been a long, long, long, difficult time."

Mark Chapman, medical director of Sydney IVF, supported the ruling. "In this particularly exceptional case, I would argue that it would be a reasonable thing to do," he told the Australian. "They had a desire to have a baby and if he hadn't died, they would be trying for that."

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Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

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