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Court grants father parental rights over turkey baster baby

The Court of Appeals of Virginia ruled the turkey baster is not a piece of "medical technology" and therefore Robert Broadwine has parental rights over the child he fathered with Joyce Bruce.

By Ben Hooper
Court grants father parental rights over turkey baster baby
A turkey baster. Photo by Michiel de Wit/Shutterstock

RICHMOND, Va., April 22 (UPI) -- A Virginia appeals court granted parental rights to a man who fathered a child with a friend when she used a turkey baster for insemination.

The Court of Appeals of Virginia upheld a Roanoke Circuit Court ruling that granted parental rights to Robert Boardwine, who provided the sperm that Joyce Bruce used to inseminate herself with a turkey baster.

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Bruce, who had sought to deny Boardwine parental rights and visitation, argued the case fell under the commonwealth's assisted conception statute and Boardwine should be considered a sperm donor without any rights.

However, the court ruled the statute only applies to cases where "medical technology" was used.

"The plain meaning of the term 'medical technology' does not encompass a kitchen implement such as a turkey baster," the court wrote in its ruling.

The court heard Bruce had approached Broadwine with the turkey baster idea in 2010, and he was initially hesitant but later agreed to the scheme. The court heard there were several unsuccessful attempts with the turkey baster and a fertility doctor was consulted before Bruce successfully became pregnant in July 2014.

Broadwine planned to be a parent to the child, but Bruce wanted him to only have "some involvement" while she would be the sole legal parent.

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The friends did not speak for several months, but Broadwine was allowed to visit the baby boy at the hospital and at Bruce's home. However, Bruce said the visits were "strained" and she told Broadwine to stop coming.

The court said Broadwine's "path to fatherhood may have been unconventional," but he was granted joint legal custody of the child and visitation rights.

Monica T. Monday, Bruce's attorney, said she will have to consult with her client before deciding whether to further appeal the decision.

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