Offspring: Nina, Patrick, and assisted reproduction.

Last night while watching the drama/comedy Offspring a situation arose where the lead character Nina being told that Patrick the long deceased father of her daughter had sperm frozen and she was being offered the use of it.

Artificial reproductive technology means that it might become more common that a child of a deceased person could be born long after the deceased’s death.

In a previous post I wrote about Warren Bazley who was diagnosed with cancer of the liver in July 2009.

Warren and his partner Kate had a child and wanted more. The treatment for his cancer was quite aggressive and Warren was told that they would be “unable to have children” for 12 months after chemotherapy ceased, and even then he may not be able to have children.

In July 2009 Warren had a semen sample frozen at an IVF clinic.

Warren received treatment until December 2009 unfortunately the cancer spread and he died in January 2010.

In December 2009 Warren and Kate married. Warren made a Will. Kate was executor and the principal beneficiary of Warren’s estate however he made no directive about the posthumous use of his sperm.

The IVF clinic followed ethical guidelines stating that unless there is a clear written directive consenting to the use of the sperm they could not allow Kate to use it to become pregnant.

It would appear that if these facts were applied to the circumstances involving Nina and Patrick she would only be able to use the sperm if there was a written direction from Patrick allowing her to do so.

Some artificial reproductive techniques may delay birth leading to delays and complexity in the administration of a deceased estate.

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