Posthumous Conception andethics

Posthumous Conception andEthics

The healthcare industry isone of the greatest beneficially of emerging technologies. The mostapplicable technologies in the health care industry are related tobiotechnology and genetic manipulation technologies. However, thesetechnologies have attracted numerous controversies and ethicalissues. Posthumous birth has become a reality in the modern society,thanks to advancement in fertility technologies. This is a case wheretechnologies enable children to be born after the parent is dead(Stechschulte, 2014). Although birth through caesarean sectionresulting into death of the mother is considered as posthumous birth,it mainly refers to children conceived artificially after the deathof the father. This involved the use of sperms from a sperm bankobtained from the father before or immediately after death.

Posthumous birth is generallyconsidered to be unethical due to social and legal implicationsassociated with it. It was the subject of the case Astrue v. Capata,566 U.S. in 2012. Robert Capato, deposited his sperms with a spermbank after he was diagnosed with cancer. After his death, throughartificial insemination, his wife Karen Capato gave birth to twins.However, the social security administration rejected the socialsecurity survivor benefits application for the twins. The UnitedStates Supreme Court ruled that the children were not eligible forthe benefits (Stechschulte, 2014).

Based on the ruling of theSupreme Court, there are legal issues, in addition to the moralissues, that have been raised against posthumous birth. Although somecountries have enacted laws that guide posthumous birth, there arenumerous legal issues associated with it. There are opponents ofposthumous birth from all walks of life. The main argument againstposthumous birth has been the fact that it is against the naturallimit in human reproduction. Posthumous birth is seen as unnaturalbirth. Major religions in the world, mainly Catholicism, have beenopposed to posthumous birth. There are also ethical issues relatingto the consent of the donor since the sperms are used after the deathof the donor (Stechschulte, 2014).


Stechschulte, T. (2014).“Symposium: The Legal and Ethical Implications of PosthumousReproduction”, 27 Journalof Law and Health 1(2014)