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France court denies woman access to semen of deceased husband

[JURIST] A French court on Thursday ruled that a woman cannot recover semen samples donated by her husband prior to his death. The High Court in the Western city of Rennes said that Fabienne Justel could not take [AFP report] her husband's sperm abroad to be used in an artificial insemination because it runs counter to a French law that prohibits the procedure after divorce, separation, or death of one partner. Justel said that her husband donated the sample after being diagnosed with terminal cancer with the intention of allowing her to fulfill their dream of having a child together, and should therefore be allowed access to the sample. The government argued that the terms of the contract between Justel's husband and the fertility center explicitly required his presence and approval before his sample could be released. She plans to appeal [Le Monde report, in French] the ruling.

In March, a New York appeals court denied [JURIST report] the parents of a deceased donor access to a semen sample that he donated prior to undergoing cancer treatment. In October 2006, the court initially denied the motion [opinion, PDF] for preliminary injunction and declared that the parents of Mark Speranza had no legal right to semen specimens because they were not part of Mark's estate.

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