Jade Payne and Daniel Payne, like many young happy couples, used to enjoy lying on their backs thinking about the future with children.

He chose a boy, she wanted a baby girl. They joked about whether their offspring might inherit 6ft 4in Daniel’s height or 5ft 1in Jade’s lack of it.

The two of them argued over the names. Arsenal fan Daniel was sold on Arsene, in honour of the football club’s then manager, until Jade pointed out it didn’t go very well with their surname. Jesse was chosen as their boy.

Daniel built kitchen cabinets as a profession while Jade was working as a nanny and had selected the pram that she liked.

‘Daniel absolutely loved children,’ says Jade. ‘He doted on our nieces and nephews and desperately wanted to be a father.’

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t happen in his short and tragically brief life.

Determined: Jade is certain Daniel would have backed her fight

Jade was determined: Jade knows Daniel would support her fight

Two years ago this Christmas, Daniel died at home in Jade’s arms, aged just 35, after a 13-year-battle with incurable brain cancer.

Jade was the last person to be conceived. He had been left childless after his death.

‘On his deathbed, Daniel made me promise I would still go ahead and try to have his baby,’ says Jade, whose Northamptonshire home is full of pictures of her adored late husband.

‘He told me: “I want you to do what we said we’d do.” After he died, only the thought of having a mini-Daniel one day kept me going. It wasn’t because I wanted replace him, it was because it was something we’d dreamed of together.’

But today, Jade, 35, faces a High Court battle to have that child her husband so longed for —all because of a heartbreaking error on the consent forms he filled in and signed.

While Daniel insisted Jade’s name was on the forms, it turned out after his death that it had been left off.

‘Not only am I grieving for my husband, I am also having to grieve for the child we both wanted,’ she says. ‘Despite being his wife, and us signing forms for IVF fertility treatment together, I have no legal right to use his sperm after his death because my name is missing from the original consent form.’

Now, trying desperately to raise £20,000 for the legal action, Jade must prove to the courts that Daniel not only intended to have children with her, but wanted her to use his sperm after his death.

Devoted: The couple cut the cake on their wedding day in 2018

Devoted: On their 2018 wedding day, the couple cut the cake.

Her case, which involves embryos, eggs, and sperm that are routinely kept during fertility treatment raises ethical and moral questions about the ownership and use of these samples.

Jade has the support and love of many who have known her husband, even though she has gone through so much.

Jade states that she currently has at least 10 letters from relatives, friends, and carers confirming the fact that Daniel had expressed his wishes for Jade to become a father. Daniel’s father, who lost his wife to cancer in 2012 aged 59, and daughter to the same disease in 2019 aged 39, has also given Jade his blessing.

Even if she reaches the High Court and wins, IVF would cost her another £5,000-£6,000, with no guarantee of success. However, she believes she should try.

‘I made Daniel a promise,’ says Jade, who doesn’t qualify for NHS funding because it was Daniel who was infertile from cancer treatment, not her.

Supported by the charity Brain Tumour Research, Jade wants to warn other couples facing the same traumatic cancer journey to check their paperwork before it’s too late.

Jade was 22 years old when she met Daniel, her second date, at the cinema.

He was 22 years old when he was first diagnosed with grade 2 brain tumour (brain tumor) and a few months later, he had lived with the dual diagnosis of cancer for nearly three years.

Jade claims that he didn’t let cancer define his life and was determined live a full, happy life.

She recalls that Daniel never complained once about his situation or the grim outlook.

‘Daniel was a very positive, happy-go-lucky person and never let the cancer change that. Even after the [brain] tumour was growing back, he’d say “It is what it is, let’s just get on with what needs to be done”.

‘When his testicular cancer came back 11 years ago, I remember him saying: “This is going to be difficult, and it’s only going to get worse with my brain tumour. I’d completely understand if you wanted to end our relationship.”

‘But I told him, “No, I’m not going to end it because you have cancer. That would be really shallow and that’s not who I am.” I’d fallen in love with his personality and positive attitude, and just accepted him for who he was.’

Daniel consented to the storage of his sperm in order to have future children with Jade.

Jade claims that Daniel insisted on Jade’s name being on consent forms prior to his sperm freezing, even though they were still very young in their relationship.

‘He was 100 per cent certain about it. As his health deteriorated over the years, he maintained that he knew what he wanted. [put her name on the form] and I had no reason to doubt him, so it was the one piece of paperwork I never checked.’

But while he and Jade planned to share the joy of welcoming a baby together — and having been reassured that his brain cancer was not hereditary — the couple’s first referral to an IVF clinic came in 2013, at the very time scans revealed that Daniel’s grade 2 tumour had grown and he needed neurosurgery, so they put their plans on the backburner.

He had to go back for further surgery when scans indicated that his tumour was now of a higher grade and had begun growing toward the motor control area.

After six weeks of antibiotics to treat a severe infection, the couple received radiotherapy for six weeks. Then they were treated with chemotherapy for an additional 18-month period. The couple put off fertility treatment as Daniel was recovering and saved money for the June 2018 wedding.

‘After the chemo Daniel felt absolutely fine and looking at him you’d never have thought he was ill,’ says Jade. ‘We thought, let’s marry first and revisit the IVF in the new year.

‘Daniel’s tumour was grade 3 and we didn’t know how long he had left. You can’t put a timescale on it; for some people it’s a few years, so we decided to go ahead with the IVF and in July 2019 we signed the paperwork for NHS funding.

‘I could have had a child by now if Daniel’s tumour hadn’t changed to grade 4 that September,’ continues Jade, who created a memorial for Daniel in the garden of their home after his death.

‘During his last two months, I was in no emotional state to start IVF when I just wanted to spend all my time caring for my husband until his dying breath.’

Jade, who was grieving the loss of her husband at Christmas, clung to hope that IVF could be continued and she would enjoy future Christmases together.

So she was horrified when, going through Daniel’s papers, she found the consent form, only to discover she wasn’t named on it after all.

‘It came as a huge shock because Daniel was always adamant he’d put my name down. I have no idea why it’s missing,’ says Jade.

‘With hindsight, I wish after we’d married, I’d checked and updated everything with my new surname but there was so much going on in our lives and Daniel told me there was no need.’

Hugh Adams is the head of stakeholder relations for Brain Tumour Research. He says that they hear frequently from young people who are struggling to decide about their future families while going through invasive fertility treatment.

It is not surprising that so many avoidable mistakes can occur at once.

‘Jade’s desperate situation compounds the tragedy of losing her husband,’ says Mr Adams.

Jade reached out to TFP Oxford Fertility in Oxford, England, for legal advice. Last October she received the ‘bombshell’ news that her only chance was to prove to the High Court Daniel’s intention to have a child with her, even after his death.

A spokesperson for TFP Oxford Fertility said it followed the guidance of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and was not able to comment on specific cases, but added: ‘We always put care and expertise at the centre of what we do.

‘Therefore, with all situations when a potential patient approaches us for help, we provide advice on the current UK regulations, which unfortunately sometimes require a court to give permission for a clinic to support future fertility treatment.

‘In the UK, IVF is tightly regulated. Consent is a key part of the legal framework, and no licensed IVF treatment can be lawfully provided unless the necessary written consents are in place from the relevant people.’

Jade understands the importance of consent as an essential principle. She also doesn’t take any responsibility for the circumstances in which Jade finds herself.

She accepts that some people might not agree with her desire to bring up her late husband’s baby alone, or might question whether it was fair on any future child to grow up with a missing parent.

She says she can choose to be with someone else and have children, and not need to deal with the legal complications. Because of her deep love for Daniel it is the child she longs after.

‘Ultimately, this is something we wanted together,’ she says.

‘Yes, it would be hard to explain to a child that their Daddy did love them and does love them and, although he’s not here any more, wanted them to be born — that he wanted me to have them.

‘I would tell our child: “He’s so sad and sorry he’s not here to meet you, but he’s watching over you, he’s always in your heart.”

‘It would be the same for any person who loses their partner, for whatever reason, before their child is born. I’m very strong and I also have a very strong network of family and friends near by, so I will not be alone. The joy I see for my child is seeing them play with their cousins and knowing that they are loved.

‘Daniel always used to tell me he wanted me to meet someone new after he died, fall in love and be happy, not wallow and cry at home. But any future partner would have to accept — whether I have Daniel’s child or not — that I will always love my late husband.’

Jade’s Christmas season is difficult because Daniel passed away two days before Christmas.

Jade still imagines a happy future filled with toys, much like her late husband.

‘It would mean so much to me to spend future Christmases with our child, even though it’s sad to think that Daniel never got the chance to see a child of his open their first presents,’ says Jade. ‘It’s what he wanted.’