2009 Archives

Ethical questions over harvesting dead’s sperm

Experts worry about emotions involved, how child may be impacted

Excerpt

The following excerpt is from the April 12, 2009, edition of MSNBC. Tom Mayo, a law professor and director of SMU's Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, provided expertise for this story.

April 13, 2009

DALLAS - Nikolas Colton Evans had talked about how much he wanted to have a child, but the 21-year-old died after he was punched and hit his head on the ground in a fight. That would have been the end of it, if it weren't for his determined mother, a court order and a urologist.

Missy Evans has harvested her dead son's sperm and hopes to find a surrogate and one day raise her son's child. It's a decision that ethicists say raises troubling questions; one called the potential offspring a "replacement child."

Evans isn't concerned about what others might think. She says she is only doing what her son would have wanted. . .

 "That child's biological father will be dead. The mother may be an egg donor, anonymous or gestational surrogate," said Tom Mayo, director of Southern Methodist University's Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

"This is a tough way for a kid to come into the world. As the details emerge and the child learns more about their origins, I just wonder what the impact will be on a replacement child," Mayo said.

He said the desire to replace a deceased child is a classic scenario that, in this case, took a nontraditional turn.

"The underlying desire would be very strong, even if she wouldn't describe it that way," he said.

Read the full story.

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