War not only ravages the body. War savages the family. War kills the future. War assassinates the now. A soldier’s widow was forced by the United States Military to not only fight for her right to her dead husband’s sperm, but she was also pressed to dig into the muck and mire of a rigid military system that was unkind to the living remnants of a fallen body. Kynesha Dhanoolal won the battle, but lost her war.
When Kynesha learned her husband, Sgt. Dayne Darren Dhanoolal, died in Baghdad on March 31, she wanted the sperm taken from his lifeless body so she might be able to still bear his child even though he was dead.
On Friday, a federal judge in Columbus, Ga., granted her request for a temporary restraining order preventing the military from embalming the body until samples of Dhanoolal’s sperm were extracted.
The samples were taken later that day and are in the custody of a medical representative for the widow, who is hoping to be inseminated even though fertility experts said the procedure almost certainly would not work with her late husband’s sperm.
“It’s not viable,” Dr. Andrew McCullough, associate professor at the New York University School of Medicine, said Monday.
Sperm maintain nearly normal movement and some function for the first three hours after a man’s death. After that, their movement and viability declines, according to the Web site for the department of urology at Cornell University’s Joan and Sanford I.
Weill Medical College.
Dr. John Park, a fertility expert and assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine, said there have been reports of viable sperm being retrieved up to 36 hours after a man’s death. But he said it is “highly unlikely” any viable sperm could be retrieved four days later.
Was Kynesha brave, or foolhardy, to fight the military system to win back her fallen husband’s sperm?
Should the dead be allowed to create children?
Is there selfishness in living when death is cheated?
Is the natural — and necessary — turbid ebb and flow of human misery threatened when, because of science and technology, the dead become the righteous living and the living die fighting for the rights of the dead?