Young woman fighting to conceive late partner's child after fatal car accident in Melbourne

Billy Van Oosten and Aroha Skipwith-Taurua
A grieving young woman who lost the "love of her life" in a fatal car accident last week is now hoping to conceive his child. Photo credit: / GoFundMe

A grieving young woman who lost the "love of her life" in a fatal car accident last week is now fighting to conceive his child and fulfill their dream of having a family.

Aroha Skipwith-Taurua, who lives in Melbourne but is originally from Auckland, had been looking forward to an exciting future with her partner of four years, William 'Billy' Van Oosten, to whom she'd recently become engaged.   

The young couple, both 21, had plans to start a family of their own - but their hopes were abruptly shattered during the early hours of May 22, when Van Oosten died suddenly in a car accident on Toomuc Valley Road in Pakenham, Victoria.

A close family friend has since started a GoFundMe page to help financially support Skipwith-Taurua and her plan to conceive Van Oosten's child.

"He was only 21 and leaves behind his parents William and Sharon, sisters Lara and Tasha, extended family members, many friends and the love of his life and fiancée, Aroha," Van Oosten's best friend, Liam Harnett, wrote on the fundraiser.  

"They both recently got engaged and were going to start a little family of their own. She wants to make Billy's dream come true and give birth to his child."  

He added that the money will go towards "continuing on Billy's legacy" as well as funeral costs, future expenses and financial support.  

"This was unexpected and a devastating tragedy that no one was prepared for. Aroha will need all the support and help she can," he continued. 

"Please, no matter how large or small the donation, it will be greatly appreciated to help ease the financial pressure. All money raised will go to Billy's fiancée, Aroha."  

Speaking to, Harnett's mother Kylie, 46, said she had known Van Oosten since he was just four years old.  

"Billy had a bit of a struggle during childhood and actually moved in with us for a few years," she told the outlet.

"Aroha changed him for the better. Once he met her, he settled down and started to grow into a decent young man who just had some goals for their future together.  

"Aroha said she only ever wants Billy's children, and she wants to make his dream of having a family together come true."  

William 'Billy' Van Oosten
William 'Billy' Van Oosten died on May 22 in a car accident. He was 21. Photo credit: GoFundMe

As per, Skipwith-Taurua has already gone through the process of harvesting Van Oosten's sperm and is now researching the best place to undergo the procedure, which Harnett said will need to be performed overseas.  

"The struggle now is to find somewhere that will do it and obviously it is going to cost her a lot of money, which is why we made the GoFundMe page," Harnett added.

At the time of writing, the page has raised AU$2170 - but they hope to reach their goal of AU$20,000. 

"Both their wishes as a couple were to have a child together," Harnett said. "Which is why Liam is raising all this money to make sure that happens, in honour of his best mate." 

According to local media, Van Oosten died after he lost control of his vehicle and rolled his car at around 12:40am on May 22. A spokesman from Victoria Police said efforts by emergency services to revive him at the scene were unsuccessful, and the circumstances that led to the crash are still being investigated.  

What is posthumous IVF?  

Conceiving a child using a late partner's sperm is achieved through posthumous in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), or IVF that occurs after the death of one genetic parent.

According to the Melbourne-based family law attorney Nicholes Family Lawyers, posthumous IVF is available in Australia and legal under certain circumstances. However, as each state and territory has its own legislation, there is "considerable ambiguity over the legality" of posthumous IVF depending on couples' specific circumstances.  

In Victoria, an urgent court order is required to retrieve a deceased partner's egg or sperm. However, even if the court permits the retrieval, it does not automatically entitle the surviving partner to use the eggs or sperm.   

The Victorian legal system very strictly enforces the requirement for written consent in matters of posthumous IVF, the law attorney states. Consent can be provided in any written form, such as a will, but it must expressly outline the specific circumstances of the case.  

"The strictness of this application can have devastating implications on surviving spouses who were not prepared for the death of their partner and can leave people with limited legal options, even if they know it is what their partner would have wanted," Nicholes Family Lawyers explain.  

According to New Zealand's Ministry of Health, "there are many complex ethical and legal issues that have not been resolved" regarding posthumous reproduction. The existing guidelines, written in 2000, apply only to the posthumous use of sperm that was retrieved prior to the man's death.  

In 2019, it was reported that health officials would release proposed changes to the guidelines around posthumous reproduction laws, as the regulations were labelled by experts as "out of date".