Sperm donor Robert Boardwine won the legal right to be part of his biological son's life Tuesday, after a Virginia appeals court ruled that turkey basters were not medical equipment and therefore did not fall under that state's laws regarding medically assisted reproduction.
In 2010, Boardwine reluctantly agreed to hand over his sperm to then-friend Joyce Bruce, who wanted to inseminate herself with a turkey baster. She attempted conception a number of times, with Boardwine visiting Bruce, according to CNN's reports on court testimony. The two would sometimes chat before Boardwine left and Bruce got down to business.
After several failed attempts, Bruce went to a fertility doctor, but still failed to achieve a viable pregnancy. She tried again with Boardwine's sperm and the kitchen utensil. That summer, she found out she was pregnant.
The two had talked about writing up a contract but didn't follow through with that.
After the boy was born, Boardwine visited with baby clothes and a bear. The two, however, fought over the kid's name, and wound up not speaking to each other for several months. When Bruce no longer allowed Boardwine to visit, the bio dad sought an attorney.
Bruce argued that she had used "noncoital reproductive technology" to get pregnant. Under Virginia's assisted conception statute, she argued, he would not automatically granted father status. The appeals court ruled that the turkey baster was not medical equipment and that the statute did not cover at-home insemination with a friend's sperm.
Boardwine was awarded joint legal custody and visitation.