The case of Diane Blood, who sought permission from the courts to be inseminated with her dead husband's sperm, aroused a great deal of public sympathy. Many took the view that Diane Blood's desire to have her husband's child should certainly be satisfied, and that it was harsh and pedantic to attempt to use the law to prevent this.
It is, however, important to do justice to all the moral issues raised by this case - particularly in view of the fact that the interests of Mrs Blood herself were not, perhaps, as clear-cut as has sometimes been maintained. Consent to use of sperm
The case was discussed very largely in terms of consent. Thus some argued that written consent was required for the posthumous use of sperm in fertility treatment, while others argued that the fact that Mr Blood had agreed with his wife that this could happen should the need arise sufficed to constitute consent.
It is, in fact, doubtful that an unwitnessed oral exchange between husband and wife can be seen as formal consent to something as momentous as the posthumous creation of a child. Moreover, it can be argued that one simply cannot give valid consent to the extraction of one's gametes for reproductive purposes after one falls permanently unconscious, or after one dies. (Compare the case of sexual acts performed on a person in a coma: morally, these would constitute rape of that person with or without prior consent to such acts being performed.) Respect for human generation
Whether or not some form of prior consent is given to the taking of sperm from a dead or unconscious person, it is wrong to use a dead or unconscious person as a source of genetic material for the generation of a child.
Generating a child is an act of great importance, which must take place in a way which is consistent with good parenthood and the welfare of the child. Where a child is created through a conscious, loving, interpersonal act between husband and...