updated 6/18/2009 1:10:25 PM ET 2009-06-18T17:10:25

A U.S. appeals court says a California girl conceived from the frozen sperm of a dead man cannot receive his pension benefits.

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A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision Wednesday, ruling the girl wasn't dependent on her father at the time of his death.

The case involves sperm that Bruce Vernoff's widow, Gaby, ordered extracted after he died unexpectedly in 1995 from an allergic reaction. It was kept frozen for 15 months before she became pregnant and in 1999 gave birth to Brandalynn.

She applied for child survivor benefits from the Social Security Administration but was rejected, and a legal battle ensued.

A call seeking comment from the widow's attorney was not immediately returned Thursday.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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