French court rules woman can use dead husband's sperm

Houses remain surrounded by floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana September 4, 2005. REUTERS/David J. Phillip/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - A Spanish woman won the right to use her dead husband's frozen sperm to try to have a baby when France's top administrative court upheld her appeal on Tuesday.

Mariana Gomez-Turri's Italian husband, who died of cancer aged 30 last year, had his sperm frozen before starting chemotherapy. At the time the couple lived in Paris, making the case subject to French law.

Artificial insemination in France is limited to sterile couples and Gomez-Turri was initially told by the authorities that she could not have the frozen sperm transferred to Spain, where she now lives.

She appealed to the Council of State, which ruled that while the law did not violate human rights in general, hers was a special case "because of the very specific circumstances ... and her late husband's illness, which prevented them carrying out their plans to have a child".

(Reporting by Gerard Bon; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Paul Taylor)