Document Type



39 Family Law Quarterly 579 (Fall 2005).


This study examines the legal ramifications arising from the growing practice of cryopreserving gametes and embryos and the potential for their use to reproduce children after the death of the parent or parents. Courts have already been called on to resolve disputes among survivors over access to cryopreserved gametes of a deceased spouse or friend. The 2002 version of the Uniform Parentage Act would allow an individual to authorize his post-death use of reproductive materials by a specific person by consent in a written record. A number of states have enacted some version of what has been called a "dead dad's bill." A number of courts have addressed the status of children conceived by use of a dead person's gametes, especially in the context of Social Security claims filed on behalf of the children. The law has long provided for children born after the death of a parent in an inheritance context, but until recently has not had to confront the question of children being conceived after parental death. In the future the law will have to confront issues of such conceptions on prior estate plans, on support issues, on legitimacy claims and on the impact on estate administration.

Date of Authorship for this Version

January 2005


Family Law, Gametes, Cryopreservation, Embryos