“Posthumously Conceived” Babies Aren’t Entitled to Social Security Survivor Benefits

First, posthumous conception is not the same thing as zombie sex.

Second, here’s the short version of the case. Husband freezes his sperm, then dies. Later, wife unfreezes the sperm and gives birth. Then, wife/mom applies for Social Security survivor benefits for her babies. The Supreme Court says no. Here is the opinion (PDF). (via ShortFormBlog)

Subscribe

Get Lawyerist in Your Inbox, Daily

Current Articles
Current Lab Discussions
  • uzo akpele

    S’pose embryos (i.e. sperm + eggs) were frozen before parent died?

  • uzo akpele

    Possibly not. In the case of embryos, the children were conceived before the death of the father. The father participated and consented to that creation of life.

    Suppose a couple who have are taking part in IVF have had the wife’s eggs and the husband’s sperm collected, and then combined in the petri dish and the cell division process starts. Husband and Wife are scheduled for embryo transfer. On the way to the transfer appointment, they get into an accident and husband dies. Six weeks later, Wife goes ahead to do an embryo transfer which is successful.

    I say that this child has a good argument for claiming his father’s SSI benefits.

    Suppose that the transfer had yielded many embryos, some of which were left over after the first transfer and Wife undergoes another transfer two years after Husband’s death?

    Same argument — the father intended to give life via this embryo and the resulting child should get SSI benefits.

    Suppose Wife remarries and then wants to use the rest of her frozen embryos — yep, people can have up to 29 embryos left over. Who would be the father of the resulting child? Can this child also claim biological father’s SSI?

    I THINK THAT WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL WHERE WE GO WITH THE THINGS WE CAN DO. THAT SLOPE IS REALLY SLIPPERY AND WE CAN GET ALL SORTS OF PLACES ONCE WE START TO SLIDE. OUR COURT OPINIONS AND LAWS MAY NOT NECESSARILY PROVIDE THE CORRECT SITUATION. THEY MAY PROVIDE A SITUATION WHICH MAY BE LEGAL, BUT NOT RIGHT.