In a Turkey Baster Pregnancy, Father Has Rights

April 30, 2015

Last week the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that a father who used a turkey baster to impregnate a woman is more than a sperm donor, and thus has rights to be part of the minor child’s life.

Two friends, Joyce Bruce and Robert Boardwine, decided to try to get pregnant using a turkey baster.  The two never signed a written contract about what would occur if they were successful.  Boardwine came to Joyce’s house several times and give her plastic containers of his sperm.  After learning she was pregnant, Boardwine came over with stuffed animals and clothes for the baby.  The two remained friends until Boardwine suggested a name for the baby, and Bruce rejected it.  After that, the two didn’t speak for five months.

After the baby was born, Boardwine went to the hospital to visit the child. Subsequently, he went to Bruce’s home to visit, but the visits seemed awkward.  Bruce then asked Boardwine to stop visiting, and so Boardwine went to Court.

Bruce’s argument was that Boardwine had no rights, because he was merely a sperm donor.  However, Virginia’s assisted conception statute defines assisted conception as a pregnancy resulting from medical technology.  The Court of Appeals ruled that a turkey baster was not medical technology, and therefore Boardwine is more than a sperm donor and is entitled to be in the child’s life. Boardwine was granted joint legal custody and visitation.


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