From 5 November, the new regime has been available but only in cases when the couple express their will in writing.
Parliament had already taken the same decision twice in this regard, overcoming the “veto” of the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who had rejected this bill at first, arguing that it could lead to succession problems.
However, after this double parliament approval and after the changes that the parties have done to the law in order to meet Marcelo’s demands, the President of the Republic has ended up accepting this new amendment to law No. 48/2019, which regulates medically assisted procreation (PMA), opening a window to women who find themselves in these conditions and want to get pregnant via their deceased husbands.
The use of medically assisted procreation techniques through insemination with semen after the donor's death will start to be possible when it results from a parental project clearly expressed in writing before the father's death.
Creating life after death
Ângela Ferreira, who moved mountains to get pregnant by her 29-year-old husband, who died of cancer, deeply moved the entire country and the parties in parliament for her cause.
This couple got married in the hospital where her husband, Hugo, was struggling with his illness. Before her husband's death, the couple was in the process of artificial fertilisation due to cancer treatments, leading the man to keep the semen at the Centro Hospitalar Universitário São João, in Porto, and him expressing the desire to have a child with Ângela.
To make the couple's dream came true she moved a popular initiative that joined together more than 20,000 signatures demanding from parliament an amendment to the medically assisted procreation law. After a long road of ups and downs, she finally won the war.
Ângela's case is not unique in the world, even in the 20th century similar cases have made headlines around the world. In fact, according to Fertility and Sterility, post-mortem insemination has already been allowed in countries such as Australia, Austria, Belgium, Greece, India, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom.
However, in most of these countries, although there have already been cases in which this practice has been accepted in society as well as precedents in courts, many of these countries do not have legislation that allows it for everyone with mandatory force.
So, since 5 November, Portugal has become a pioneer in these matters, guaranteeing that all women who fulfil these conditions will have the same right, not leaving it to the will of the courts as it happens in other countries.