Posthumous IVF

Leith Patteson first met Tony Deane in August 2015. They quickly commenced a relationship, moved in together and were engaged in October of that year. Tony was diagnosed with a serious illness and was unable to work as a consequence and Leith cared for him.

Tony died unexpectedly in April 2016 Leith made an urgent application to the Queensland Supreme Court seeking an order to have Tony’s testes and sperm removed and stored at a fertility clinic.

Leith and a number of her friends provided evidence that both She and Tony wanted to have a child together. It was submitted that their dream was to start a family and buy a house.

The Court granted the orders as Tony’s sperm had to be removed within 24hours to maintain viability. However to use any of the extracted material a further court order would be required.

The Court commented that in allowing the extraction of the testes and sperm it gave Leith the opportunity to reflect on

‘whether to proceed with the use of any extracted material’,

and any further applications made by Leith ‘will not be rendered futile through loss of viability of the sperm’.

In order to use the sperm, Leith will need to apply for the Court’s permission again, and in the absence of more information on Leith’s relationship with their son, Tony’s parents intend to oppose any further applications for use of the sperm in IVF.

Tony’s parents intention to oppose any such application is based on the evidence that they ‘don’t have all the evidence’, and their position may change if more was provided.

In many ways this illustrates the outcome of not discussing your future plans with your loved ones. In taking time to make plans regarding an advance care directive, Superannuation, income protection and life insurances, and your Will –  it provides peace of mind for your loved ones at an already stressful time in their lives.

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