WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A rich British couple lost their son to a motorcycle accident 4 years ago.
- Bypassing strict laws, the couple asked a doctor to harvest his sperm two days after his death.
- Their ‘designer grandson’ is believed to be 3 years old now and is the couple’s future heir.
A highly unusual decision was made by a rich British couple after their 26-year-old son died from a motorcycle accident – to harvest his sperm and create a ‘designer grandson’. The extraordinary choice made by the parents certainly raised ethical concerns, considering the UK’s strict laws.
It was four years ago when the couple lost their son to the accident. Two days after his death, his sperm was collected by a urologist and immediately frozen. The specimen was flown to the US, bypassing UK regulations.
Gender selection techniques were performed to create a male child who was born through donor eggs and a surrogate. The entire procedure was estimated to have cost £60,000 to £100,000 ($78,000 to $ 130,000).
IVF pioneer and world-class fertility specialist Dr. David Smotrich helped the couple in his IVF clinic in La Jolla, California. The doctor has not expressed any ethical objections to the parents’ wishes, although he admitted that the case was highly unusual.
Dr. Smotrich stated, “Producing a child using posthumous sperm is exceedingly rare. I have done it only five times…This couple were (sic) desperate to find someone who would be able to create an heir. They wanted a boy.”
He further explained that the procedure, which involves gender-selection, is considered illegal in the UK.
This case is believed to be the first UK case in which a baby has been conceived from sperm that is extracted after the death of the donor. The couple’s son was not married, and there was no formal consent given to the use of his sperm in the event of his death.
Former chairman of the British Fertility Society, Prof. Allan Pacey said, “If the son, in this case, wasn’t being treated by a clinic, and had not signed the necessary consent forms for the posthumous retrieval, storage and use of his sperm, then a criminal act has probably taken place.”
Those who were involved in the case in the UK could possibly face prosecution, according to legal experts.
Dr. Smotrich explained, according to the couple, that’s what their son would have wanted and been very specific about the qualities of the egg donor, based on what type of woman their son would have married.
He also claimed that he was not aware that British law was bypassed by the grandparents.
The male child was born in the US in 2015 and the couple was present. The boy, now 3, is living with his grandparents in the UK. Dr. Smotrich said that he receives Christmas cards from the family.