The Court of Protection recently ruled that the wife of a man who lacked capacity and was dying following a traumatic brain injury could request the retrieval of sperm from her husband in order to complete the IVF treatment that they were undergoing at the time of his accident.

The man in question was unable to make decisions for himself following the accident earlier this year. His wife therefore made an emergency application to the Court of Protection with the aim of being able to finish the fertility treatment they had already agreed to undertake together.

Mrs Justice Gwyneth Knowles heard applications from lawyers representing the wife, and also lawyers representing her husband, as well as the doctors involved and from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. All of them supported the application of the wife. Ultimately, the wife was granted permission to have her husband’s sperm retrieved and stored before he died.

The judge said she was satisfied that the man would have wanted his sperm to be retrieved and stored so that it could be used to allow his wife to conceive, if he had been able to make decisions for himself. The husband has since died.

The judge’s ruling was described as ‘enlightened and constructive’ by the law firm who represented the wife. This decision underlines the great breadth of work that the Court of Protection processes every day, and also demonstrates how well the court will respond to an emergency application from a person who needs their assistance.