Dying wish to procreate

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Many wishes are left unfulfilled when a person dies, regardless of the age of the person at time of death.  However, the younger the person, the more wishes there will be.  A life that has not been lived to the fullest will always have unfulfilled dreams.  Nevertheless, there is one dream that medical technology has enabled some people to accomplish.  And that is the ability to procreate.

This is more of an ethical, rather than a health, issue.  Recently, a woman won the right to harvest her dead fiance’s sperm because they had talked about having another child in the future.  He died the very next day.  In another case, a woman won the right to harvest her son’s sperm after he was killed in a fight outside a bar.  She stated that he had expressed a wish to become a father someday.

On the surface, both cases seem innocuous.  However, there are many issues to consider.  Both men talked about having children.  The first one already had a child with his fiancee, the second one did not.  What’s unclear from the stories presented is whether both wanted to be hands-on parents.  If so, harvesting their sperm does no good for anyone except the fiancee and the mother, because neither fathers will be in their children’s lives.  The fiancee wants to carry on a legacy from her fiance.  The mother wants to have grandchildren from her dead son.  Because of technology, children in the future will be conceived well after their fathers have been dead.  I guess it might not be so different from those children already conceived through other sperm donors, but those children remain completely unaware of their fathers.  Whereas, in these two cases, there is someone to tell them about their fathers.

The fiancee, whenever she is ready, can conceive her child.  But since she is a single mother, will she need welfare support?  What if she meets another man before she is impregnated, what dilemma will she face then?  How will the mother find a woman to carry her dead son’s children?  Procreation becomes a very cold act.  Who will raise the child, the mother or grandmother?  Will she get welfare as well?

Although talk has generally been for harvesting sperm, the equal rights movement would not leave it there.  Soon, there will be egg harvesting for a future surrogate mother.  That might not be as successful unless the woman leaves behind a husband or fiance who desires children with said woman.  After all, a surrogate mother might not like carrying an unknown woman’s egg that has to be artificially inseminated by some stranger unknown to herself or to the dead woman.

We have created an artificial world where dead men can become fathers just because they had expressed a wish to be one.  What we don’t seem to care about is that the dead man is not around to be a real father, just a sperm donor.  So, if a man fails to become a father in his lifetime, he could still have someone close to him harvest his sperm for the future.

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