Sperm taken from the body of a dead man was used to impregnate his widow, who is now a month along in her pregnancy, according to the urologist who performed the procedure.
The woman asked to remain anonymous at least until she reaches the end of her first trimester, said Dr. Cappy Rothman, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Century City Hospital.The Los Angeles man, who was in his early 30s and happily married when he suddenly died of an allergic reaction, had no children. But after his death, his wife asked that his sperm be retrieved and preserved.
Rothman, a male infertility specialist, led a team that went to the coroner's office and extracted sperm from the epididymis, the tubes behind each testis where sperm mature. He then froze it.
The sperm were used to fertilize eggs from the widow, who is in her late 20s, about 15 months after her husband died. One of the fertilized eggs implanted in her uterus led to the pregnancy, said Rothman, who also is medical director of the California Cryobank, which stores sperm and embryos.
Rothman has performed or supervised the sperm extraction procedure about a dozen times since 1978, when he retrieved sperm from the body of a man killed by a vehicle. But he said this pregnancy follows the first time a family asked that a dead man's frozen sperm be taken off ice and used.