Federal judge rules sperm will go to soldier's widow

The widow of a Fort Benning-based soldier killed March 31 in Iraq is now legally entitled to her husband's sperm following the issuance of a federal court order this morning.

U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land voided a temporary restraining he issued April 4 barring Sgt. Dayne Dhanoolal's mother , Monica Brown, from "embalming, altering or otherwise disposing of" her son's remains until a medical representative for his wife, Kynesha Dhanoolal, could extract his sperm. Initially, Brown did not consent to the procedure, according to court papers filed by Kynesha Dhanoolal's lawyer. After speaking with her daughter-in-law a day after the restraining order was issued, however, Brown gave her blessing for Kynesha Dhanoolal to seek artificial insemination using her late husband's sperm.

Brown did not object to this morning's dissolution of Land's previously issued temporary restraining order. Included in that court order Land gave Kynesha Dhanoolal sole custody of her husband's sperm.

The sperm sample is in custody of the widow's medical representative in Dover, Delaware.

"It's up to God now whether it works or not," said Kynesha Dhanoolal's lead attorney, Charles Miller. "We felt like we worked very fast."

Kynesha Dhanoolal said she and her husband Sgt. Dayne "Darren" Dhanoolal spoke often of having children and were hoping to conceive when he returned from Iraq. When a roadside bomb exploded near the vehicle being driven by the 26-year-old 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team soldier, that hope seemed lost. Realizing she still might conceive her husband's child using artificial insemination, however, the 28-year-old Columbus woman turned her efforts to procuring his sperm.

Sgt. Dhanoolal died without a will, according to court papers filed April 4. A Muscogee County probate judge made the soldier's wife temporary administrator April 2 of her husband's estate. Miller said Georgia law states his client has the authority to control her husband's remains. Prior to his death, however, Sgt. Dhanoolal signed an Army-issued DD Form 93 designating Brown as the person authorized to handle his remains upon death.

After speaking to a doctor, Watkins said her family is optimistic the sample is still viable. Watkins said her daughter needs time, however, to recover emotionally and physically before she attempts artificial insemination. In November, Dhanoolal had surgery to remove uterine fibroid tumors so that she could conceive with her husband upon his return from Iraq.

Funeral services for Dayne Dhanoolal were held April 11 in Killeen, Texas. Watkins said her son-in-law received a military service to include a rifle salute. He was awarded the purple heart and bronze star.