As assisted reproductive technology and the ability to and sperm advance, many ethical and legal questions continue to emerge. Recently, cases have begun to wind their way up through the state courts involving post-death conception via in vitro fertilization (IVF).
In August, a federal appeals court ruled that an 8-year-old girl born two years after her father died was not entitled to his Social Security benefits, which reversed a lower court's decision.
Brynn Beeler was born through in-vitro fertilization using sperm from Patti Beeler's late husband, Bruce, who died of leukemia at age 37.
The girl, Brynn Beeler, was born through IVF using sperm from Patti Beeler's late husband, Bruce, who died of leukemia at age 37.
Another case that emerged in Florida — Astrue V. Capato — went all the way to Supreme Court, which held that children conceived after a parent's death are not entitled to Social Security Survivors benefits if the laws in the state that the parent's will was signed in forbid it.
Now there is another case before the Michigan Supreme Court.
When Jeffrey Mattison of got sick, he froze some of his sperm so chemotherapy wouldn't prevent he and his wife Pamela from having more children. When Mattison died in 2001, his wife used the banked sperm and conceived twins — Mallory and Michael — who were born about 10 months after their father's death.
The Social Security Administration is refusing to treat the twins as Jeffrey Mattison's heirs and grant them survivor benefits.
It's quite likely that a case will eventually emerge involving a woman's frozen eggs in which a surrogate is used after the woman's death. Technology is advancing too quickly for laws to catch up.
If you are freezing eggs and sperm for future use, it is important to consult with an attorney familiar with assisted reproductive technology and the laws in your state. That is the best way to protect your family and any future children who may be conceived from those gametes.
November 25, 2012
Posted by Leigh Ann Woodruff