A grieving widow has been told she can’t use her dead husband’s frozen sperm to have his baby because of a paperwork blunder made 11 years ago.
Jade Payne, 35, has to prove to her fertility clinic that partner Daniel, 35, who died two years ago, really wanted her to have his child through IVF.
She says she was told by TFP Oxford Fertility that she’ll have to win a High Court battle before they unlock Daniel’s sperm, which was frozen in 2010.
The couple, who were together for 10 years, were planning to have a child before Daniel sadly died of a brain tumour in December 2019.
The dispute is centred on a “technicality” of Jade’s name not being on Daniel’s original sperm donation documents – despite more recent ones having her signature on them.
Jade, a nanny, said: “I think it’s disgusting that I have to prove anything to the court. He was my husband and I want his child.
“It’s something we both wanted – we were planning it together and then he died before we got the chance.”
Jade now has to collect letters from family, friends, a GP and some of Daniel’s carers to prove his wish for her to have his children.
She said that her legal battle costs could run into thousands of pounds.
Daniel froze his sperm 11 years ago ahead of testicular cancer treatment and the couple were planning to start IVF before a brain tumour Daniel had been living with returned in September 2019 and killed him three months later.
Jade, from Brackley, Northants, said that she and Daniel had already chosen baby names and decided how to design their nursery.
She said: “Having his child would mean the world to Daniel. It’s something we were always going to do.
“Throughout our relationship he told me ‘your name is on my sperm so you can use it when you want and it’s yours’.
“We’d chosen baby names, talked about how we wanted the nursery to look, what pram we’d buy, we knew exactly what we wanted.”
Daniel, a fabricator, was “certain” that he had included Jade’s name on the initial sperm donation document but it emerged after his death that he was mistaken.
The couple had signed documents to start NHS-funded IVF at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford in July 2019 and faced no issues with the missing signature.
But when Jade asked about using Daniel’s sperm after his death she was told that there wasn’t sufficient evidence that she was entitled to the sperm.
Jade said: “I do understand the legality of not having my name on the original document; it’s something Daniel thought he had taken care of but, even so, he and I have both signed documents since then and he was my husband so you’d think common sense would prevail.”
She added: “To have a ‘mini Daniel’ running around would mean the world to me. It’s just a shame I’m going to have to fight for it, especially considering how hard I fought alongside Daniel in his last three months of life.
“If the judge was to say no, it would be heart-breaking. I don’t know what I’d do, probably curl up into a ball, because, in effect, it would be like losing Daniel all over again.”
Daniel died just three months after finding out that the brain tumour he had been living with since 2006 – a grade 2 astrocytoma – had grown.
His condition quickly deteriorated and he died two days before Christmas, 2019.
Jade’s fundraising effort for her High Court battle is being supported by Brain Tumour Research.
Hugh Adams, head of stakeholder relations for the charity, said: “At a time when Jade and Daniel should be planning their family together as husband and wife, Daniel has been taken away by this devastating disease leaving Jade to face the future alone.