Judge Rules Fiancee of Dying Man Can Harvest His Sperm

The family of a dying Bonaparte man can harvest his sperm for his fiancee, a judge ruled Thursday.

The unusual case involved Daniel Christy, 23, who was critically injured in a motorcycle accident Sunday and was expected to die soon. Unconscious, he had suffered a series of strokes since Tuesday night and has little brain activity, his family said.

On Wednesday, Christy's parents asked staff at University Hospitals for some of his sperm for Amy Kruse, who he had been engaged to marry in September 2008.

An emergency court hearing was held, and the judge allowed the request.

"I'm not just doing it for him, or because I want kids," said Kruse, a 23-year-old from Hillsboro. "He was Tom and Sherry's only son and this is the only chance to have part of him left."

Hospital administrators initially balked at the request, asking for a court order, said the Christys' attorney, Lori Klockau of Iowa City. Hospital officials said Iowa's Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, the statute that regulates human organ donations for transplant, didn't apply, Klockau said.

"They said the law was intended to prolong existing life, not to create new life," she said in an interview.

Thursday morning, Christy's parents filed an application for emergency orders, asking the court to give the hospital authority to treat the sperm like other donated organs and tissues. The application included an affidavit from University of Iowa law professor Sheldon Kurtz, who drafted the state's anatomical gift act. Kurtz wrote that the committee drafting the law intended to legally permit gifts of semen.

Hospital officials said after the hearing that they would no longer stand in the way of the Christys' request.

Brian White, legal counsel for the hospital, declined comment.

"We're here to take care of our patient," he said.

Hospital spokesman Tom Moore also declined comment, citing patient confidentiality.