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Should boy, born 3 years after his dad’s death, get Social Security?

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?

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Comment by Donnie Ashok on October 20, 2010 at 3:25pm
I'm waiting for counter points to my last comment (defense).
Comment by Abin Francis on October 19, 2010 at 10:37pm
okay, so which one of these views are the right one?
Comment by Donnie Ashok on October 18, 2010 at 11:28pm
No the thread didn't die :)

Is a signed sperm donor agreement evidence of a man’s desire to become a father, even after his death?

here the father is the donor.. he must not look after his donations after making the gratuitous act..

therefore father's consent is invalid and not necessary..
Comment by Abin Francis on October 14, 2010 at 10:50pm
okay, this is with hopes that the thread hasn't died out yet :D

If the man did not have any desires to father a child sometime in the future, he would not have cared if the treatment rendered him sterile. In such a case, he would not have taken precautionary measures (which here is, storing his sperms). This clearly is evidence of his desire to father a child in the future and his consent to the same.
Comment by Vishal Tripathi on September 27, 2010 at 9:30pm
@riS: You are right. I agree.
Comment by riS.aXe.Han on September 27, 2010 at 1:43am
i made this point in an earlier comment and am going to make it again"he stored sperms only because his treatment would have rendered him sterile".
this indicates that he wanted to keep alive a hope to have a child through his own sperm in the future
HOWEVER,this by no means indicates he would have wanted to father a child
Comment by Ramanuj Mukherjee on September 26, 2010 at 4:34pm
the problem is that one may store sperms to keep the possibility of having a child in the future alive without giving consent to actually having the child. He may make up his mind or change it while the sperm is preserved.

in the UK a woman has to first get approval from an ethics committee before sperms can be used to create a test tube baby. clear permission of the sperm owner is needed.
Comment by Donnie Ashok on September 26, 2010 at 4:28pm
Yeah he didn't give consent, either orally recorded or as written.. But what he gave was his part of property which his wife had a share of.
In India at least after divorcing, every wife has the share of about 50% of husband's wealth, unless proved otherwise.
Therefore, as the husband shared his wealth (sperms) with his wife, the wife has the rights to develop a baby from those sperms.
And in sperm banks authorisation is necessary like any other banks, if the late husband's wife had the authority, she can give birth to a child, and that child has the rights to all the benefits like any other normal child..
Comment by Ramanuj Mukherjee on September 24, 2010 at 6:00pm
Just because someone stored his sperm doesnt necessarily mean he gave consent to becoming a father.
Comment by Donnie Ashok on September 24, 2010 at 1:50pm
My logic says:
The father stored sperms. ok.
But can the sperm cells be used multiple times at multiple places without his consent.
It could have happened that the father is a celebrity, and his wife had been selling those samples..

But it didn't happen like i mentioned above.
Only one child, and that is a wish of every parent to have at least one child.
I think One or highest two child is favourable, and the only child must receive social secutiry benefit.

Law must include emotions. (in these cases of mash-ups)

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