An Old Latin is locked in litigation at the High Court to decide whether her husband’s cryogenically frozen sperm will be destroyed.
Elizabeth Hyde married a ski instructor,Warren Brewer from Woburn Sands, just six weeks before Warren died in Willen Hospice, MK, after a long battle with cancer. Although Beth ( her preferred name) and Warren had been together for eight years and had planned to marry, their plans were put on hold by Warren’s treatment.
Warren had taken the precaution of having some his sperm stored ahead of treatment that could have rendered him permanently infertile.
Cutting-edge technology comes with careful provisos. The frozen sperm was time-limited and subject to destruction if he did not re-affirm his wish to extend its shelf-life. Alongside that agreement, Warren repeatedly confirmed that he was happy for Beth to use his sperm after his death. Tragically, Warren died in 2012 leaving the clock ticking on his sperm and the alarm set for April, 2015, the time when it would be destroyed.
So, Beth, now aged 28, needs to start IVF straightaway, and be successful. She has but one chance to have ONE of the TWO babies that the couple had planned to conceive.
Beth has started a campaign as well as a legal battle. She’s also adopted her late husband’s forename- Warren – as her surname.
Beth’s in a quandary – she is unsure in herself that she’s ready to have a child who cannot meet its father. She feels she needs more time to resolve issues and to become more financially secure – she has started work as Physiotherapist in the last few weeks. Beth’s situation will be mirrored by other couples, but her own situation has been exacerbated not only through living through her husband’s harrowing cancer treatment but losing her brother, ex-Latin, Edward Hyde, a Thames Valley policeman in a car accident just days before Warren’s death. Hard cases make bad law goes the phrase beloved of those who find it easier to stand idly by.
Beth is asking the High Court to stop the clock before it reaches its deadline and extend the storage period sine die. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has been sympathetic – already granting short extensions – but it asserts that the law must be obeyed and cannot be changed retrospectively.
Beth has said: “I’m still heartbroken and need to first find happiness within myself.”
“Warren’s family are all behind me and my family and friends have been extremely supportive.”
“If, and when I’m ready, I want the chance to be able to have his baby.”
A website was launched recently with technical help from Old Latins to promote the legal challenge. If you’re sympathetic do look at http://www.backbethwarren.co.uk
This story was put together with help from: