Widow, 33, Using Late Husband’s Sperm to Have a Baby Using IVF



  • Fabi Powell’s late husband Josh was diagnosed with a rare cancer and died one month after they married.
  • Before his death, they decided to freeze his sperm so Powell could have a baby using IVF after he passed.
  • Powell is currently doing IVF. She shared her story with Andrea Syrtash on the podcast “Pregnantish.”

Fabi Powell dreamed of being a mother since she was a little girl. When she met Josh at a Nashville bar in 2014, while visiting from California, she couldn’t believe their connection. It felt like her goal to find love and start a family was coming true.

Two months into their relationship, Josh received a devastating diagnosis: He had the rare cancer synovial sarcoma and soon doctors said it would be untreatable. He died two years later.

But Powell refused to let Josh’s cancer diagnosis end the plans she made with the man she loved. They got married in 2016. Now Powell plans to honor Josh posthumously, using his frozen sperm to have a baby through IVF.

Powell shared the details of her love story and how she plans to carry on Josh’s memory during an October 20 episode of the podcast Pregnantish. Since Josh froze his sperm during chemotherapy and radiation treatments, which can affect a person’s fertility, they decided Powell could use them to have a baby, even if he was physically gone.

Powell took 4 years after Josh died to decide if she wanted to use his sperm

A month after Josh proposed to Powell, they learned the cancer had spread to his lungs. They moved their wedding day from May 2017 to November 2016, knowing treatment options would be slim.

Right before their wedding, they talked about the fate of Josh’s frozen sperm. He told Powell, who was 27 at the time, he thought she’d be an amazing mom, and that a little piece of him could live on their future child. In his will, Josh wrote that Powell would get his sperm should anything happen to him.

“He trusted me with that role and he gave me his blessing before he left this earth,” Powell said. But after Josh died, she wanted to be sure she was making the right choice, so she took four years to decide to try IVF.

The pandemic reminded Powell that family was everything to her, she said on the podcast.

After 5 egg retrievals, Powell says the fertility journey has been ‘brutal’

Powell, now 33, said the first fertility specialist she worked with made her feel uncomfortable and gave her “this weird feeling that she just didn’t want this for me.” 

She said it was overwhelming and “brutal” to navigate the fertility clinic system as a widow. After two failed egg retrievals at a Colorado clinic, Powell went to one in California where she had three successful ones, which resulted in one healthy and viable embryo she plans to implant in November or December.

Powell knew Josh and his mother had a gene mutation that increased the likelihood of cancer, so she had the embryos genetically tested so she could choose one without the mutation.

According to Powell, sharing her IVF journey on the podcast and her Instagram has helped her stay resilient throughout the process. She hopes sharing her experience gives others, who are going through IVF or supporting someone who is, hope too.

“Putting a face and a name to IVF and what the day in and day out of this journey looks like gives the average person so much more respect for their friends and family and coworkers who are facing this battle,” Powell said.





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