My HRA: Diane Blood

24 January 2013
Author: 
Corinna Ferguson, Legal Officer

This week, the latest in our blog series on our new short films showcasing the importance of the Human Rights Act focuses on mother-of-two Diane Blood. Her sons were born in miraculous circumstances after her husband’s death. When it came to getting him legally recognised as the boys’ father, the HRA came to the rescue.

Diane and husband Stephen had been married for three-and-a-half years when he died from meningitis in 1995. “It’s the most horrendous disease ever because it’s just so swift,” she says. “He became ill very, very rapidly and didn’t know who I was within the space of a couple of hours, and died just four days later.”

At the time the couple were trying for a baby. So as Stephen lay in a coma, Diane asked if sperm could be taken from him. “If he’d actually survived he was being given such massive amounts of drugs, his fertility could have been affected anyway,” she explains. “I knew it was something that he so desperately wanted – a family.”

The couple had discussed a previous case where a woman had given birth after her husband died and agreed that it was important to have a family even under such circumstances. So following Stephen’s death, Diane decided to try and have the family she and her husband had planned.

“It became a matter of getting on with my life,” she recalls. “That included having children; knowing that I was doing something that he had thought about and agreed with. It was about me (doing) the things that a normal woman would expect to do in having a family by somebody that she loved.”

The chance of Diane conceiving was just 20 per cent but she went on to have two sons. However, she was told there was no way under law that she’d be allowed to name Stephen as their father on their birth certificates. So she turned to the HRA.

“That changed thanks to the Human Rights Act,” she says. “We achieved what everybody had initially said was impossible. When I finally won and got the name on the birth certificate, I just felt as thought I must be the luckiest person in Europe.”

Some people have asked Diane whether she regrets spending so much time battling in the courts, but she is unequivocal. “I couldn’t have had the life I’d planned without children, and them being able to name both of their parents on their birth certificates is a part of their human rights and their identity that I think was important to fight for,” she adds.

“So, no, I can’t regret it. It’s a part of my life and it’s a journey that I took.”