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Widow Uses Late Husband’s Sperm for IVF to Try Conceiving His Child Five Years After His Death

Josh Powell; Fabi Powell

Josh Powell; Fabi Powell

Photo: Fabi Powell Instagram

A California widow is undergoing in-vitro fertilization under very unique circumstances.

Fabi Powell first met her husband, Josh Powell, in 2014 while on a trip from California to Nashville for a football game. The two fell for each other fast but early in their relationship, they were delivered crushing news that Josh had a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma.

Fabi was determined to continue the relationship and her and Josh’s love continued to blossom, as she explained in her recent appearance on the Pregnantish podcast. The couple got engaged in May 2016 and were married in November of that year after learning Josh’s time was limited. He died just weeks after their wedding.

When first learning of his illness, Josh decided to have his sperm frozen. Prior to his death, Josh told Fabi he wanted her to have the chance to try and have their child.

She recalled Josh telling her, “How amazing would it be to have a little piece of me live on forever? You would be the most incredible mom.”

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Fabi didn’t come to the decision easily or quickly, taking four years to make sure she was ready for all it entailed.

“It wasn’t like immediately after he passed away I’m like, ‘Let’s do this because I want a piece of him back,’ ” she noted. “I wanted to make the right decisions and do it for the right reasons, so I gave myself four years.”

During that time, she was proactive about making sure her options were still open. After the pandemic, she felt ready.

“It was after lovely covid lockdown that I was like ‘Family is everything to me. What am I waiting for? I haven’t met the second love of my life Josh was it,’ ” she recalled. “I wanted him to be the father of my children. It’s time.”

Fabi explained the situation wasn’t without its complications — from having her husband’s sperm held in her name based on the wishes outlined in his will, to dealing with medical professionals whose personal feelings about what she was doing got in the way of the logistics.

Fabi began her IVF journey in early 2021 and shared where she was at in the process, explaining, “We have one perfectly healthy embryo that we are hoping to transfer this November or December.”

“My case is very complicated because we know that josh and his mom carried the BRACA2 mutation. Because I have the ability to eradicate that from our family and the devastation we all went through because of this cancer mutation, I have chosen to genetically test our embryos to try and avoid that mutation,” she explained. “It’s a 50/50 chance, it’s a crapshoot whether or not our healthy embryos are going to be BRACA positive or negative.”

At the time of the podcast, Fabi was awaiting results from a fifth egg retrieval, which she later learned hadn’t yielded any more embryos. As a result, she decided with her medical team to “slow down and do a little more testing before jumping into an embryo transfer.”

“Because the stakes are so high with this next transfer we are going to spend the next few months making sure we’re not missing anything that would possibly lead to another failed transfer.”

Fabi remains hopeful as she takes steps to ensure her success with the healthy embryos, promising to continue to publicly undergo the journey regardless of the outcome.