Posthumous conception raises significant complex legal and wider issues.  Circumstances when these sperm and eggs are collected, stored and used are strictly regulated in the UK.  

If you wish to use your deceased partner’s gametes (or embryos created using their gametes) it requires their written and signed consent during their lifetime to their post-death use.  If valid legal consent is not obtained prior to death, treatment cannot proceed in the UK (although there have been a small number of cases where the HFEA has consented to the export of stored sperm abroad for use in treatment where formal consent was not given). 

Storage periods create legal difficulties for patients in posthumous conception cases.  Whether patients are entitled to a standard storage period of 10 years, or extended storage depends upon their circumstances and that of their partner prior to their death.

How we can help

In the event life does not go to plan through unexpected illness, death or injury, we have the knowledge and expertise to meet expectations and where legally possible achieve "last wishes". 

We provide sensitive, confidential, supportive and timely legal advice on:

  • UK fertility law 
  • posthumous conception
  • financial provision for a child
  • legal status for a child
  • specialist "family proof" wills

To find out more about our legal services click here.

Gain an understanding of wider issues in the development of and current issues surrounding fertility, posthumous and family law in the UK and internationally. Click here to visit our Media and Publications section. 

Find out more about assisted conception and family law in the UK in our resource hub.

Arrange a meeting with Louisa Ghevaert, Partner and Head of the Fertility and Parenting Team at Michelmores: email louisa.ghevaert@michelmores.com or telephone +44(0)207 7886382.

Back to the top