Here is a case that pushes moral, ethical, medical, scientific, and political concerns, into a legal mash-up, that’s sure to tie up court calendars and become a hotly debated issue, for a long time.
From the Headlines -
In a highly unusual case, the Utah Supreme Court is considering the rights of a child born to a man who died three years earlier.
By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune – Updated Jul 12, 2010 08:10PM
There is no question that Ian Burns is the son of Michael Burns.
But did Michael intend to father a child nearly three years after his own death from cancer?
(Gayle Burns holds her son Ian in their home in Murray Wednesday Jun 30, 2010. Burns’ husband Michael died after cancer treatment in 2001. Before undergoing therapy, Michael stored sperm because the treatments made him sterile. After he died, Gayle conceived a son — Ian — who was born in 2003. She is fighting to get Ian recognized as MIchael’s son so he can receive Social Security survivor’s benefits. The case is at the Utah Supreme Court, and is the first case of its type in the state. The issue has also been raised in other states. Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune)
For his wife Gayle, there is no doubt.
But for the Social Security Administration, which is fighting her efforts to get survivor’s benefits for their son, the answer is no.
Now the Utah Supreme Court is entering the debate in a first-of its-kind case here, though the issue has been debated in a handful of other states.
The justices are poised to answer two questions: Is a signed sperm donor agreement evidence of a man’s desire to become a father, even after his death? And is that child then his legal heir?