Picture: Zoltan Balogh/EPA

London – Claims that a wealthy British couple created a ‘designer grandson’ using sperm taken from their dead son are to be investigated by the fertility regulator.

The Mail on Sunday revealed last week that the grieving parents are said to have retrieved the sperm after their 26-year-old son – their only child – died in a motorcycle accident in 2014. It was frozen and flown to the US, where the couple, described as a ‘notable family’, used it to create a male heir.

But the claims, made by fertility specialist Dr David Smotrich, who helped the couple at his world-renowned clinic in La Jolla, California, are now to be investigated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the UK.

Officials are concerned that the sperm was retrieved, stored and used without the dead man’s consent – a breach of UK law – both by the doctor who retrieved the sample and by the clinic which agreed to store it and send it overseas.

In a letter to The Mail on Sunday, Nick Jones, the HFEA’s director of compliance and information, said there would be a ‘robust investigation’ of the claims, and warned those involved faced prosecution.

He described the case as containing ‘very serious allegations, potentially carrying criminal liability’.

The remarkable case is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK. The boy, now three, was born in the US using donor eggs and a surrogate in a £100,000 procedure.

Dr Smotrich said last week he was ‘unaware’ how the couple were able to bypass UK law.

Mail On Sunday