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Woman Wins Custody Of Dead Lover’s Sperm She Fought 6-Year Court Battle Against Dead Man’s Children

Tue., Feb. 25, 1997, midnight

Nearly six years after a brilliant but emotionally troubled Los Angeles businessman committed suicide, his lover on Monday finally got custody of 12 vials of frozen sperm that he willed her so she could have his child after his death.

In an odd and bitter custody battle, Deborah Hecht was pitted against the grown children of her dead lover, Bill Kane, for possession of the sperm. It has sat chilled in a cryobank since Kane deposited it there in the fall of 1991.

A California Supreme Court decision late last month not to review an appellate court’s ruling in Hecht’s favor cleared the way for the sperm to be released to Hecht’s control.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Hecht, a gemologist and jewelry appraiser, after all the sperm vials were finally hers.

While Hecht has stopped fighting the Kane family for sperm, she is now almost 42 years old and fighting her biological clock.

“I have sperm and I’m going to get preggers now,” she said in a mix of giddiness and confidence. “We’re going in vitro and I’m excited.”

If she fails to get pregnant, her legal adversaries will have effectively won. The Kane children - Everett, now 25, and Katie, 23 - have always been repulsed by Hecht’s claim to the sperm. They wanted to win it simply to have it destroyed.

“The judicial process in this case has been strange and frustrating, and Katie and Everett are glad it’s over,” said Sandra Irwin, the children’s attorney.

In another soap opera-like twist, Irwin is also their mother; she has long been divorced from Kane.


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