Dead man to father a baby?

A Melbourne woman who lost her husband to cancer wants to be allowed to carry the embryos she and her dead husband conceived. The couple had been undergoing IVF treatments even before the husband passed away, so clearly, he consents to the idea of fathering a child. However, based on Victorian legislation, the use of sperm for assisted reproduction from a dead man is prohibited.

Other people argue that allowing the wife to use the dead man’s sperm violates the rights of the husband and of the future child, puts unnecessary pressure on Medicare since it pays for half the cost of each treatment (shouldering up to $5000 per $7000-$8000 treatment cycle) and raises a host of other ethical issues. On the other hand, you can’t help but feel for the woman who has suffered enough already. Should she just chalk it up to misfortune that they weren’t able to conceive before her husband passed away and move on with her life?

Before the advent of frozen embryos, this would be a non-issue because it won’t even be possible. The present technology has given many childless couples their own bundles of joy, miracles of technology really. But are we playing God? Where do we draw the line?

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Published in: on April 29, 2005 at 11:08 pm  Leave a Comment