BATTLING for the right to have a child by using her dead husband's sperm, young widow Diane Blood was blocked in the High Court yesterday, not so much by a law that is asinine, but one written for good reasons that unfortunately did not envisage tragic circumstances like hers.

For her bid for artificial insemination treatment was refused on the grounds that her late husband had never given consent in writing.

It is understandable why the law insists on this condition.

It is so that a donor cannot be liable for the consequences of anyone using his sperm without his approval.

But, of course, Mrs Blood's late husband could not fulfil this requirement - he was in a coma at the time and terminally ill.

Yet what protection does he need from the law now that he is dead?

And especially when the person who wants to make use of his sperm "without consent" is his wife?

And there are all sorts of other commonsense reasons why the severely-practical legal obstruction that stands in the way of her desire to perpetuate her love for her husband by having his child deserves to be demolished. Mrs Blood could, for instance, become pregnant quite legally by using the sperm of any other donor.

Use could have been made, again quite lawfully, of Mr Blood's organs - in heart, kidney or liver transplants for instance - and all without his consent.

Furthermore, had Mrs Blood been inseminated with her husband's sperm before his life-support machine was switched off, there would have been no legal difficulty since treatment as a couple requires no written consent.

But this did not happen because Mrs Blood believed - wrongly - that she may have been pregnant anyway.

But though the tragic situation into which she has fallen may not have been envisaged by the drafters of the law, it is a great pity that she has had to be put through this ordeal and still has to fight on to an appeal - despite the High Court giving her much sympathy, but no satisfaction.

For she has already incurred legal costs of £50,000 and had to remortgage her home. And no measure can be put on the anguish she has suffered.

She should be spared further mental and financial suffering.

Not only should the law be changed swiftly in her favour, but ways to compensate her for the ordeal should also be found.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.