SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – A widow may not have babies using her deceased husband’s sperm, the California Courts of Appeal ruled.
Joseph and Iris Kievernagel were married for 10 years before Joseph’s death. The couple had frozen sperm stored in case Joseph’s sperm could not be used on the day of the couple’s attempt at artificial insemination.
In a consent agreement with the fertility clinic, Joseph checked and initialed the box stating that the sample should be destroyed upon his death. His other option was to donate the sperm to his wife upon his death, which happened in 2005 in a helicopter crash.
During their marriage, the couple’s arguments about whether to have a baby landed them in a counselor’s office and almost in divorce court.
In probate court, Iris argued that her husband’s procreative rights ended with his death, and that her rights prevailed, despite the consent agreement.
Judge Morrison ruled that the probate court was correct in ruling that the husband’s sperm should be destroyed.
“The disposition of Joseph’s frozen sperm does not implicate Iris’ right to procreative autonomy,” Morrison ruled. “That would only be so if she could show that she could become pregnant only with Joseph’s sperm.”