Post-death conception

Baby feet

Baby feetLast fall, Apple and Facebook made news by announcing that they would cover the cost of any female employee who wished to freeze her eggs in order to preserve her fertility for having a biological child later in life. There has been both criticism and applause for the announcement, which is a different discussion, but today I am going to talk about one possible consequence of doing this: children born after death.

There have been several cases out of some states regarding infants who are biologically the descendants of the person they are claiming through, but born, or even conceived, after the death of one parent. Most of these cases involved a woman who used her husband’s sperm to conceive while her husband was dying or after his death, but it is only a matter of time before a husband uses a woman’s frozen eggs and a surrogate to have her child after her death. The law surrounding this in Canada is very much in flux; this particular issue has not yet been addressed. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important to make a note of the issue in your will – both whether the child would count as your descendant, whether that is directly as your child or through an adult child to a grandchild, and whether you want your own genetic material used after your death. If you were in the middle of assisted reproduction, would you want your spouse to be able to continue?

There are a lot of very difficult questions to work through as you make a will. Unfortunately, modern scientific and social advances are only making it harder.