Robin v The Public Trustee for the Australian Capital Territory & Anor [2015] ACTSC 100 required the court to consider whether cryogenically stored sperm constituted property which, upon the death of the donor, would form part of his estate.

The sperm had been preserved following a cancer diagnosis. The documentation signed at the time provided for disposal of the sperm by the Canberra Fertility Centre, subject to any legislation, guidelines, court orders or the like: [5].

The evidence indicated that once his poor survival prospects were known, there were discussions between the donor and his wife, consistent with his expectation that the sperm would pass to his wife on his death: [7]. Unfortunately there was no written will addressing the issue.

At [28] the court held that the mere fact that the semen was formerly part of a human body is not sufficient to deny that it is property. Having reviewed some earlier authorities, the Court concluded at [29] that the semen stored with the fertility clinic was property of the deceased which vested in the personal representatives of the estate.

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