VIEWS: 43 PAGES: 23 CATEGORY: Law POSTED ON: 5/25/2010
After what appeared to be a miraculous recovery during a two month period where SGT Smith was competently communicating with his family and physicians and had gained enough strength to move about with assistance, SGT Smith's health began to decline to the point where he entered a persistent vegetative state.3 Before life support was removed, SGT Smith's parents, the next-of-kin and attorneys-in-fact pursuant to SGT Smith's Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, petitioned the hospital to extract SGT Smith's sperm so that his fiancee may later bear his child. With recent advances in assistive reproduction technology4 and the high rate of injury and death among military servicemembers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan,5 the military is ripe for issues surrounding the posthumous conception6 of children conceived to individuals killed on active duty.7 Moreover, family members faced with the decisions associated with the medical care of brain dead individuals8 or with the otherwise untimely death of their servicemember relative, are frequently seeking out options for continuing the legacy of their loved ones.9 For many pursuing this goal, the only hope lays in the birth of a child, "the servicemember's child," a child who could bear his name and carry on his legacy.
To Be Continued: A Look at Posthumous Reproduction As It Relates to Today’s Military Major Maria Doucettperry∗ I. Introduction Permitting families of recently deceased Soldiers to collect semen from the Soldier for the purpose of artificial insemination implicates many moral, ethical, and legal issues. This practice should therefore be limited to cases where the servicemember has voluntarily surrendered a specimen prior to death and has clearly indicated the intended disposition of such specimen in the event of his death or incapacity. Additionally, military benefit eligibility criteria should be redefined to encompass any children conceived from this process within a specified period from the servicemember’s death. The following Sergeant (SGT) Smith and First Lieutenant (1LT) Perry hypotheticals demonstrate the perplexities raised by unanswered moral and legal questions surrounding sperm cryopreservation2 as they may be presented in the military arena. The fir
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