« No More McNuggets? Get the Fuzz on the Phone! | Main | The Eve of Justice is (To)Nigh(t) »

Here’s Your Wednesday Dose of Morbid

spermbanks.jpgI understand a parent’s desire to want to salvage some part of a dead child, so while I don’t necessarily disagree with the court’s ruling here, it is kind of unfairly harsh:

The parents of a 23-year-old killed by cancer are not entitled to use their dead son’s preserved sperm so they can have a grandchild, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The New York state appeals panel issued a unanimous and unprecedented ruling in the case of Mark Speranza, 23, who left semen samples at the Repro Lab Inc. in July 1997 and signed a form directing that they be destroyed if he died. He wanted to be able to father a child if he survived his battle with cancer.
Following their son’s death in January 1998, Mary and Antonio Speranza of Edison, N.J., told Repro’s operator that they wanted a grandchild and wanted to save the sperm so a surrogate mother could be artificially inseminated.
The lab operator, Awilda Grillo, told the Speranzas their son deposited the specimens for his use only and the specimens had not been screened for donation to a member of the public, as required by state law.
The Speranzas paid Grillo storage fees and asked her to preserve the sperm specimens until a court could decide on custody.
State Supreme Court Justice Jane Solomon ruled that the law barred use of the sperm. She noted that the required screening, specifically a blood test of the donor, was now impossible since Mark Speranza was dead.

I suppose the law is the law — but you’d think they could make an exception here. Why, even, would the lab fight against custody for 10 years? What’s to gain? And what’s to lose by letting the parents have their kid’s sperm? Is this some sort of principled case? Cause I don’t see what the principle is except to screw over the parents in honor of a dead person’s wishes.

| Comments (12)


My only thought is that he specified that it was to be destroyed inthe event of his death, so maybe there was a fear of a genetic link to his cancer? And would you want to be the neighborhood kid being raised by his or her gradparents as some kind of living memorial to a father you never knew?

We don't know what kind of relationship he had with his parents. Nobody can answer the question of whether or not he wanted his parents access to his genetic material. If he had, he would have allowed the sample to be donated to them in the event of his death.

I feel for the parents, but the guy's instructions were to destroy the samples if he died. The court is honoring his wish.

Got to side with the court on this one. He made very specific provisions to eliminate the possibility of fathering a child after his death -- the ultimate in reproductive choice, yes?

I feel for the heartbroken parents, but their wish for a post-mortem grandkid -- especially with a surrogate mother who was not his wife -- is a little creepy, and very much a violation of their adult child's right to make decisions for himself.

I'm with the court on this one too. Maybe if he hadn't specified it be destroyed after his death there would have been some wiggle room, but with that preference established, I think it needs to be honored. Also, if they want a grandchild so bad, how about adopting?

Yeah, this seems clear to me as well. I watched my parents struggle with the loss of a sibling and feel for the parents, but I think a person wishes with regards to procreation should be honored very strongly. It may seem strange, but spiritually I would abhor fostering a life beyond my control.


I completely agree with the court AND the dead son's wishes. This article left out some key details, such as EVEN if this sick/morbid concept came to fruition...think about the poor kid whose grandmother is in her 70s. They also left out the fact that she has other children and even grandchildren of her own from them.

It's tragic for her to lose a son, but quite frankly I'm surprised the courts even let it go this far. Let the son rest in peace with his wishes.

Dustin, unless you were just trying to get people to disagree with you, you are a complete idiot. Are there not enough human organisms on the planet now? If those people are so hell bent on raising another child then they should just adopt. If they could see beyond there own self absorption they would realize that they would be just as happy.

Dredge Slug - to be honest it's not even about them being hell bent on raising another child, she is doing this in hopes to "replace" her lost son.

Like I said, I'm surprised this case even got this far. This grandmother needs some serious help and not to be taken advantage from this Kerry Kathoris lawyer guy.

This is a joke right? You would really want your parents to collect your sperm, find a surrogate mother and raise your child? That is weird and creepy. Both that some parents would want to do this and the thought that some person would want their parents to do this.

"Cause I don’t see what the principle is except to screw over the parents in honor of a dead person’s wishes."

Meaning the dead guys desires have no card in this deck?

He just did not desire to get hit with a postmortem paternity suit!

This is sick! How could the courts even entertain this case?