Friday, June 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Cases

Who knew that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals could actually issue a decent ruling? Usually those California judges act as if they've spent too much time bleaching their brains in the sun and not enough time studying law, but for once it appears some sense has prevailed.

The case at issue involves a man who unexpectedly died of an allergic reaction in 1995. His widow ordered sperm to be extracted from her husband after his death so she could have his child (she gave birth to a little girl in 1999 using the frozen sperm). But here's where it gets tricky - she applied for her husband's Child Survivor benefits from the Social Security Administration to help care for the girl, but was denied. She sued for rights to the benefits, and the case eventually ended up in front of the 9th Circuit. The judges ruled that the child is not eligible for the father's survivor benefits because she was not dependent on him at the time of his death. Heck, she wasn't even a twinkle in her father's eye at the time of his death.

So, this ruling actually makes sense to me. But what doesn't make sense is why someone would want to take sperm from their dead husband to conceive a child. It is one thing for a child to lose a father after she is born, but it is quite another to deliberately bring a child into the world without a father to help raise her.

Of course, that case is not as icky as this one, where a Texas woman was granted the right to harvest (um, steal?) sperm from her dead son so she she could use it to father a grandchild at some point in time. She argued that her son had wanted children so she was just fulfilling his wishes. Um, lady, I'm pretty sure that there is not a man out there who wants his mother to get a court order allowing invasion of his cold, dead testicles so she can make herself a grandmother. Ewww. That is so creepy and wrong.

I understand there must be sadness in knowing you will never have children with your husband or that your son will never give you grandchildren, but is it really ethical to take sperm from a dead person, especially without their explicit prior consent? And even if you had their consent, is it ethical to deliberately bring fatherless babies into the world?

Ugh. Who knew men would have to start putting "Don't steal my sperm!" in their wills to prevent this sort of thing?

People these days.

1 comment:

Megan B said...

I don't think I was supposed to laugh that much when I read "cold, dead, testicles."