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Couple bypasses NC law by sending twin girls' fetal remains to Virginia for cremation

Dan and Kristin Christensen
Dan and Kristin Christensen

An Apex couple who wanted to have the remains of their stillborn twin daughters cremated together despite a N.C. law forbidding it have solved their problem by going out of state.

“The girls are finally safe back at home,” Dan Christensen said Friday.

Christensen said he and his wife, Kristin, sent the remains of Kadence and Olivia to Virginia to be cremated and then brought back to North Carolina.

State law here specifically prohibits the cremation of more than one set of human remains at a time. It’s a common rule across the nation, designed to protect consumers from the unintended commingling of the remains of loved ones.

However, some states, including Virginia, allow exceptions to the rule with written permission from the person authorizing the cremation. The issue could arise in the case of aborted or miscarried multiple fetuses, for example, or with family members whose deaths occurred in close succession.

In the Christensens’ case, it was the couple’s first pregnancy, and the babies shared a single amniotic sac. They died in utero at 22 weeks and were surgically removed last week.

At the time, Dan Christensen said the babies had “never spent one second apart, and we don’t want them to be apart now.”

But when the family contacted a funeral home to arrange a joint cremation, they were told no funeral home in North Carolina could legally provide the service. UNC Healthcare agreed to hold the remains until the family could find a solution.

Christensen said the end of the pregnancy, followed by the battle over the babies’ remains, had been one of the most difficult experiences of the couple’s lives.

He said he hopes that North Carolina legislators, who have promised fix the law, will do so.

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