Is it ethical to allow birth conception in cases where one parent is dead?

by camillerodier on September 12, 2016 - 10:17pm

The in vitro technology is a great option for infertile couples since it permits them to have their own biological child instead of adopting or not having any child. Since the laws in relation with in vitro fertilization are wide and permit to conceive a child even if one parent has already past away, people with bad intentions can take advantage of it by having that child with ulterior motives, rather then raising a child out of love. Illustration of a person that seems to have bad intentions for raising a child has been put in light in an article published in May 2016. It is a controversial story since the laws have determined that conceiving a child after the death of one parent is legal, but maybe the ethics should not.
The article published in La Presse in May 2016 exposes the story of an infertile couple that went to a fertilization clinic to create embryos in July 2011. During autumn 2011, the man returned to his home country, Congo, since their relation was not going well. The woman kept trying to have a child with the embryos, in vain, and in January 2012, the man died. Height months after the death of the man, the woman had another embryo implanted and she became pregnant. Jules gave sperm to create the embryos and he signed the consent form which made his wife Marie owner of the embryos in case of death. Marie is now claiming that Jules is the biological father of this newborn. Some people would say he is not, because he did not sign the birth registration of the child since it had been one year and a half after his death. Marie is now fighting in court to have her child recognized as Jules’ legal child. Since Jules was Congolese, the inheritance rights are different than in Canada. The inheritor of first order is the child, the inheritor of second order is his mother, and then comes his brothers and/or sisters. Before the court, Marie said that Jules did not have an important inheritance and that he only had one brother, when he actually had four sisters. It is suspicious that Marie did all this to access to Jules’ inheritance.
Laws in place in Canada determine that there is a presumption that a child born from in vitro technology 300 days within the dissolution of a civil union is the biological child of the couple. The number of days should not be of interest when facing happiness of a child to come. Anyhow, an interesting question is: ‘‘Is it ethical to give birth without the consent of one individual involved in the creation of the embryos?’’ I think the embryos should belong to both parents at the same time and they would need to sign a form every time they implant one in the woman’s uterus. This way, it ensures that both parents are either still a couple and eager to become parents or consenting. Therefore, there is better chance that the child will be raised in a loving environment. On the other hand, will the child be even loved by the only parent alive when born in situation like the one studied in this article? It seems a lot like Marie had a need for money or maybe it was for a revenge against the other possible inheritors. We could be wrong for this case and have a misinterpretation, but such situations are likely to happen at any time.
I think it should not be allowed that only one parent can give birth without the approval of the other, especially in cases of death. Should the right of one person to conceive a child without the other biological parent alive overrule a child’s right to happiness?

Boisvert, Yves. ‘‘Seize héritiers dans le congélateur.’’ La Presse, 2016.


First of all, your subject look interested because I never heard of a case like this, so it takes my attention. You look to know the subject well so it makes your post very interested and easy to read. I have the same opinion as you, I really think that people should sign or approved something each time the women get an implant of embryos. I think that it is best for the baby but also for the parents because not knowing that you have a child or not approved that you want one, look like taking someone right. I approved your point of view and you take some good examples. A question that I am thinking about is: Why can it be legal that someone uses the sperm or ovule of someone death?

The subject, and the title very clear, caught my eye. It is not a "typical" subject like prostitution, religion, or marijuana. You really look under the first layer and pin point well the flaws of such law. I value a lot people autonomy and respect their decisions, so I do not agree with someone simply taking their death husband sperm to make a baby, without the father knowing about this child, or agreeing. It would be another story if in his testament he signed his wife can use his sperm. It also leaves a scar on the child, not knowing his biological father, and I know by experience. I wonder if we will hear this subject more in the news, as well as surrogate mothers for homosexual couples?