Court rules baby from turkey baster pregnancy has a right to two parents

Apr 22, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Image: Adam Hester/Blend Images/Getty Images

A DIY turkey baster pregnancy was the subject of a court battle that ended with the father having joint custody and visitation of his child.

Joyce Bruce wanted to become a mom, and she and her friend, Robert Boardwine, decided to try to conceive using a turkey baster. After some time, she was successful, but she thought that since they never had sex, she would be the child's sole legal parent. A court didn't see it that way, and now Boardwine has been awarded joint legal custody and visitation of the boy.

Bruce argued that the DIY insemination was a method of reproductive technology and that his involvement was akin to her using a sperm bank. However, the pair never drew up any sort of document outlining Boardwine's future involvement, and while he thought he'd be a part of his child's life, Bruce had a different idea. In fact, after he came to the hospital and saw the baby at her home a few times, she told him to stop coming by.

Two courts have now found in his favor, with the latest coming from the Court of Appeals of Virginia after Bruce attempted to deny Boardwine visitation and custody. Bruce's attorney told CNN that they weren't sure if they were going to file for another appeal.

The takeaway lesson here is that even though the couple didn't have a relationship and did not have sex to conceive their child, there were no legal documents in place prior to conception regarding Boardwine's status in the life of his biological child. Boardwine had different expectations going into this than Bruce did, which has now resulted in the courts getting involved and legal decisions being handed down.

Even if both parties are in total agreement before a DIY insemination takes place, it's pretty much a must to get that down in writing. What if you've gotten pregnant in this manner with your good friend who says he doesn't want anything to do with the child, but five years later he comes in with a claim you can't deny because he's the biological father of the child?

The hopes and desires of both parents need to be addressed, because the decision to have a baby is one that should never be taken lightly. I can understand Bruce's hopes for a single-parent journey, but if so, there were other measures both parties should have taken before picking up that turkey baster.

More on parenting

Dad advertises hot bod on daughter's shirt for one misguided reason
There's only one way to describe what this 25-year-old man did to a child
8 Things to never say to someone struggling with infertility