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Judge: OK to Collect Dead Son's Sperm

Sperm cells and egg

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After 21-year-old Nikolas Colton Evans was killed in apparent bar-related altercation in Texas, his mother said her son had always wanted children and asked to have his sperm preserved so that someone might bear said children. Docs said no. Judge said yes, adding: "There were other body [that is, body parts] harvesting that was going to take place, and I didn't see why this additional body harvesting shouldn't take place."

The practice of harvesting a dead man's sperm goes back more than a decade. In fact in 1996 New Scientist magazine reported that it was being done at some clinics at the request of surviving family members. The sperm are frozen, then when the time is right, defrosted and injected into a woman's eggs, which can then be implanted in the uterus.

It has also been considered by ethicists before. "Dead men are not obviously harmed by the practice; children need not be harmed by this kind of birth; and the practice enlarges rather than diminishes the reproductive choices of surviving partners," wrote Timothy F. Murphy of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, in the journal Bioethics in 2007.

Evans, however, apparently has no surviving partner, making his case unique.

[Read the Full Story at Austin Statesman]

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Robert Roy Britt
Rob was a writer and editor at starting in 1999. He served as managing editor of Live Science at its launch in 2004. He is now Chief Content Officer overseeing media properties for the sites’ parent company, Purch. Prior to joining the company, Rob was an editor at The Star-Ledger in New Jersey, and in 1998 he was founder and editor of the science news website ExploreZone. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.