HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Creighton University School of Law

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Bizarre Story of the Week

I apologize that I have not been blogging regularly this week.  I have pink eye and a rather nasty cold thanks to my beloved son, so I have been out of commission.   I am feeling a little better today and will try to catch up on some of the exciting news in health law.

This first piece is just a bit of fun (although not so much for the parties involved).  With an eye catching headline like:  "Court:  Man May Sue Over Surprise Pregnancy, But Sperm Were Hers to Keep" -  even someone with pink eye takes note.  The story as reported by AP continues

A man who says his former lover deceived him by getting pregnant using semen obtained through oral sex can sue for emotional distress but not theft, an appeals court has ruled.

Dr. Richard O. Phillips accuses Dr. Sharon Irons of a "calculated, profound personal betrayal" six years ago, but she says they had the baby through sexual intercourse.

[ok, how did these two get to be doctors?]

The Illinois Appeals Court said Wednesday that Phillips can press a claim for emotional distress after learning Irons had used his sperm to have a baby, but agreed that however the baby was conceived, Irons didn't steal the sperm.

"She asserts that when plaintiff 'delivered' his sperm, it was a gift," the decision said. "There was no agreement that the original deposit would be returned upon request."

Ok, I always thought the pre-embryo custody cases (Davis v. Davis, J.B. v. M.B. and A.Z. v. B.Z. just to name a few) were interesting because they involve difficult questions about life and when it begins,as well as whether reproduction should occur over someone's objection.  I usually have rather interesting class discussions about these topics.  This case also involves someone who has had their genetic material used for reproductive purposes without their permission, and how we can define  genetic reproductive material.   However, I will need to read this case to see if it adds anything further to the discussion. (I mean, who would have thought - sperm may be viewed as a gift that individuals receive during sex - and an irrevocable gift at that.  Once you get lawyers involved, even sex doesn't seem quite as exciting).   [bm]

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