January 24, 2018

Fathering children after death

Can the sperm of a dead man be used to create babies? A recent news story brings up this controversial topic once again. The concept of posthumous sperm utilization is not a new one and there have been many cases of babies being born to deceased men.

I have been involved in such a case myself. I can only share the basics without divulging the details. This was a couple who were in the middle of infertility treatment when suddenly the husband took ill. He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with cancer. The couple halted their treatment, but deliberately took action to freeze many vials of sperm. The husband did not survive his disease, but made it clear that he wishes to give his wife the option of using his sperm. She came back after a time and did just that. Now she is successfully raising happy healthy children conceived from her deceased husband’s sperm.

The difference in the case of Nikolas Colton Evans is that he never explicitly expressed his permission to do this. In fact, he never even went to the trouble of saving sperm ahead of time. So this is not just a case of using posthumous sperm, it’s a case of harvesting posthumous sperm.

Instead of arguing the merits of doing it, one might present the counterargument of why NOT do it, as long as the mother wishes to. Well there is the question of the rights of the deceased. Do dead men have the right to not have their sperm taken and used? What about the rights of the future children? Do future children have the right not to be conceived if their biological father is already deceased?

  • Campbell

    Wow the story you linked to is both strange and sad. I’m surprised that even harvesting the sperm of a dead man is allowed without their consent let alone using it to father a child. I can certainly sympathize with the young man’s mother – she wants to have a part of him forever I suppose. If human cloning was allowed people would probably clone their deceased loved ones, but it all seems very creepy. However, I think the case where you helped the surviving wife become pregnant is great – since this was the man’s wishes and they were trying to get pregnant even before he fell ill. There are many children born after the death of their fathers and I would say this is similar to that. It’s sad for the child but has happened throughout history.

  • http://www.architect-life.blogspot.com Christopher Ganiere

    Thank you for sharing the story. I believe that children have a right to both a father and a mother and I would discourage anyone from purposely seeking to deprive a child of either.