Canada: Lesbian couple ordered to divide sperm in split

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A Canadian court has ruled that a lesbian couple who separated in 2006 ought to have divided up donated sperm they had frozen in the same way that they had their other assets.

Both women in the couple had used sperm from one donor to create a child, in 2000 and in 2002.

But following their split in 2006, during which all assets and parenting responsibilities were divided equally, they forgot about the sperm, the Vancouver Sun reports.

In 2009, one of the women, JCM, then chose to have another child with a new partner and requested permission to use the sperm that had been donated to her and her former partner, ANA, who denied the request.

JCM took her former partner to court for the right to use the sperm after it proved impossible to track down any more of the retired donor’s donations.

Supreme Court Justice Loryl Russell said: “I find that the remaining 13 gametes should be divided between the parties. Assuming it is not possible, or that it is impractical, to divide one sperm straw in half, I award seven sperm straws to the claimant, JCM, and six sperm straws to the respondent, ANA.”

There was, she added, “no logical reason to treat the gametes as other than property.”

She also said: “I do recognize that sperm used to conceive two children for two loving parents does not have the same emotional status as a vehicle or a home. There is no intent on my part to trivialize this matter.”