In the past few decades, medical science has made giant strides in the area of artificial reproductive technology, or ART. Today, single individuals or couples who once had no hope of being parents are having their dream come true through the use of ART.
As is often the case though, the law has been slow to catch up with science and technology. The results can be anything from odd to tragic for children born through ART. What makes the issue even more problematic is that both laws relating to ART and laws relating to heirs and the right to inherit through intestate succession are determined at the state level by state laws, meaning that there is no uniform treatment of the issues involved in ART. Some important questions that you need to ask yourself include:
- Are you planning to “bank” reproductive material anytime in the future? Soldiers, cancer patients, and even individuals whose biological clocks are ticking down often choose to “bank” reproductive material to be used in the future.
- Have you given your consent to use genetic material to conceive a child after your death? People who have genetic material stored often expressly consent, or refuse to consent, to the use of the material by a partner in the event of their death.
- If you received genetic material from a donor, did the donor give up his or her parental rights? Unfortunately, even a written termination of parental rights might not be enough.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have important estate planning issues that need to be addressed.