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Court: Widow Can’t Use Husband’s Frozen Sperm

By Sheryl Rentz on December 17, 2008

In an interesting case regarding the rights of widowed spouses, a Sacramento state appeals court has ruled that Iris Kievernagel cannot use her deceased husband’s frozen sperm to become pregnant because he had made it clear he did not want to father a child posthumously. In a recently made public ruling, the appeals court ruled that if only one spouse has contributed genetic material, “the intent of the donor” must control its disposition after death.

Joseph Kievernagel, 36, of Citrus Heights, was one of two Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies killed when their helicopter crashed into a hillside near Lake Natoma in July 2005. The court said he and his wife had a loving marriage, with one subject of disagreement: She wanted children and he did not. They nevertheless tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child and went to a clinic to begin in vitro fertilization in June 2005, but had not completed the procedure before his death.

After his death, Iris Kievernagel, administrator of her late husband’s estate, sought custody of the sperm her husband had deposited with the clinic. A Superior Court judge refused, citing the couple’s contract with the clinic in which a box was checked saying the sperm was to be discarded if he became incapacitated or died.

The laws regarding the rights of spouses, widows, and divorced parties are constantly changing. Because of the arbitrary and dynamic nature of marital proceedings and contracts it may be wise to contact the Philadelphia agreement enforcement lawyers at our offices. We can give free consultations on any enforcement issue or any divorce related problem that you are having. Our law office has years of experience in Pennsylvania and the particular enforcement of agreements laws pertaining to divorce. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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