The Law Commission’s consultation on divorce has already expanded its scope. It was initiated to address prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, as the Radmacher v Granatino case progressed through the courts. . A string of subsequent cases, notably Jones v Jones, have thrown the unpredictability and confusion which bedevils the overall division of marital property on divorce into sharp relief. But should sperm count as a marital asset?
At first glance, Diane Blood and the unnamed Surrey woman who currently seeks a reform of the rules on sperm donation might seem unlikely bedfellows. Blood, over a decade ago, sought and won the right to use her husband’s sperm, taken while he was in a coma, without his explicit consent. The unnamed woman, whose husband donated sperm without her consent, seeks to prevent that from happening again. The common ground is an idea of the communality of sperm as a shared resource of the marriage.
Blood cited the marriage vow “All that I have is yours” to support the proposition that she should be entitled to use the sperm; the unnamed woman believes the sperm “must be some sort of marital asset” and therefore that she should be able to stop her husband using it. Both believe: if you’re married to me I control your sperm.