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Bizarre Child Support Battle In Brooklyn

A child support battle that involves a hospital and a $9 million - it may sound like a soap opera plot but this real life drama is playing out in Brooklyn. The bizarre battle involves a fertility clinic at NYU.


Eyewitness News reporter Michelle Charlesworth is live on Manhattan's east side with the story.

This is a question for men tonight: what happens to sperm in a bank when you stop paying to keep it frozen? Can your estranged wife pick up the freezing bills and use your sperm, then come after you for child support payments? That is at the center of this lawsuit against a sperm bank a wife and a notary public.

This couple is currently getting divorced but before the relationship hit the rocks they were trying to have kids. According to court documents, Mr. Deon Francois' sperm was frozen at NYU. Then the break up happened - about two-and-a-half years ago. Mrs. Francois continued to pay $500 a year to keep the sperm frozen and underwent in vitro.

Mr. Francois says he didn't know about any of this, in fact, he didn't know that she was still trying to get pregnant. He thought that if nobody was paying to freeze the sperm, it would be thrown away and it was a non-issue.

John James, Deon Francois' Attorney: "He did not want a child at that time and he did not give any kind of written or oral consent for NYU to use the sperm, in fact didn't pay storage fees. He moved out, he forgot about the whole plan of having children with Chaamel."

But Mrs. Francois attorney says not only did her husband know, he was cashing thousands in refunds from the couple's insurance company - reimbursement for fertility bills that she had already paid.

Steven Gildin, Chaamel Francois' Attorney: "What do you do in a situation when a man relies on a woman who says 'I'm on birth control' but she's lying. Or what if the birth control just fails? Does that father then have the right to walk away from his financial responsibilies? It's the same thing."

Now the embryo is an 8-month old baby boy and a judge says Mr. Francois owes $150 a week in child support. What about a legal release to use the frozen sperm? She says he signed one, he says it's a fake.

What about a notary? She says it's notarized, he says it's a fake, and his attorney says his client has run out of money.

John James, Deon Francois' Attorney: "He wants to focus now on concluding the divorce matter and focusing on the case against NYU the notary and his wife. Well he needs to be compensated and he has to pay child support and it's going to cost maybe several million to raise a child in the 21st century."

No comment from NYU tonight and Mrs. Chaamel Francois is pregnant again and her attorney says he will go after Mr. Francois for child support because she became pregnant while they were married and that is what the law supports.



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