“I award seven sperm straws to the claimant, J.C.M., and six sperm straws to the respondent.” Justice Loryl Russell
British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Loryl Russell decided that sperm should be considered property and divided as evenly as possible between a sparring same-sex ex-couple.
Vancouver Sun reports:
"A lesbian couple from British Columbia divided all their assets when they broke up in 2006 but forgot about 13 tubes of sperm that were being stored in a sperm bank.
The sperm came from the same male donor, and was used for each of the women to have a baby -- the first in 2000, and the second in 2002.The remainder of the donation was forgotten, left in sperm straws in the Genesis Fertility Clinic.
But trouble emerged in 2009, when one of the women, known as J.C.M., met a new partner and wanted to have another baby. J.C.M. asked her former spouse, known as A.N.A., for permission to use the left-over sperm so she and her new spouse could have a baby biologically related to her first child.
A.N.A. considered the request carefully, but replied that she would rather the sperm be destroyed.
That prompted J.C.M. to go to court to fight for ownership of the sperm, leading to a jdgment released today by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Loryl Russell.
A.N.A's lawyer, Georgialee Lang, argued there is no federal or provincial legislation, or any Canadian case law, that treats sperm as property."She argues the issue of treating sperm as property is a moral one," Russell wrote.
Lang cited an academic expert, Dr. Bonnie Steinbock, who says there are three moral issues with treating sperm as property: posthumous reproduction, commercialization of reproduction, and treating the body as a commodity.
Russell noted this was an emotional quandary, but that she decided the sperm donation should be considered property for several reasons, one of them that the donated sperm had always been treated as property: by the donor, by the U.S. clinic, by the Vancouver sperm bank, and by the former couple."
Women buying sperm. Anonymous donors. Children deprived of dads.
It's a Grave New World.