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Widow May Win Request to be Fertilized with Late Husband’s Sperm

October 30, 1996

LONDON (AP) _ A court that barred a widow from using her late husband’s sperm to become pregnant said Wednesday that it is willing to reconsider.

Two weeks ago, Britain’s High Court dashed Diane Blood’s hopes of bearing a child by her husband, Stephen, when it upheld regulators’ 1995 decision not to let her use his sperm.

Stephen Blood died in March 1995 after contracting bacterial meningitis and falling into a coma. While he was comatose and on a life-support machine, Mrs. Blood asked doctors to take samples of his sperm, which now are stored at a hospital in Sheffield, 160 miles north of London.

The court had agreed with the authority that under British law, the sperm could not be used because Mr. Blood had not given his written consent. The authority’s ruling also banned Mrs. Blood from taking the sperm out of Great Britain so that she might be fertilized legally in another country.

But her case generated considerable political and media sympathy, and the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority met Wednesday to consider bending the rules.

``The HFEA has agreed to give further consideration to the application of Mrs. Diane Blood to export the sperm of her deceased husband,″ a statement said.

The court said it had invited Mrs. Blood’s lawyers to submit further evidence and that it would make its decision before January.

Mrs. Blood, 30, said she was heartened that the court wanted to hear more about her case. Her smiles as she spoke to reporters were a sharp contrast to her tears in court two weeks ago.

``They didn’t know the fact that I believed I was pregnant when Stephen died,″ she said, ``or the fact that we’d discussed the issue and he’d agreed to the posthumous use of his sperm.″

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