Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, August 22, 2005

More Difficult Issues in Family Law

This is for those of you who are married or who think you might some day be married. Have you considered whether you would like for your spouse to be able to have your children if you were to die suddenly? Presumably there are technologies available for harvesting an egg of a recently deceased female or the sperm of a recently deceased male, along with markets to hire someone to carry an in vitro fertilized egg, if necessary.

If you would like this option to be available, it might be advisable to spell it out. In Australia, a court decided that a partner could not assume permission would have been granted by a spouse who had just died:

A VICTORIAN widow has been refused the right to impregnate herself with her dead husband's sperm because she did not have his written consent to do so.

The landmark decision, handed down by Victorian Supreme Court judge Kim Hargrave, was the first time an Australian judge has had to make a finding on the issue of whether a woman can use her dead partner's sperm to have his child.

The 36-year-old woman had been married to her husband for more than eight years when he was killed in a car accident in July 1998.

Within 24 hours of his death, the woman, who can only be identified as AB, received permission from the Victorian Supreme Court - and the consent of the dead man's parents - to have his sperm taken and stored at a Melbourne hospital.

... Justice Hargrave said the law did not allow the taking of sperm or ova from the dead for the purpose of reproduction if the person had not consented in writing to the procedure before their death.
The moral of this story is that this court decided the risk of a partner's death is a foreseeable event, and if the partners want post-mortem progeny, they must consent to it in advance in writing. The decision penalizes those who do not anticipate their own deaths and do not plan accordingly.

Is this another form of natural selection?

Would you sue your lawyer for malpractice if s/he did not ask if you wanted to include a clause about this in your will?

[h/t to Brian Ferguson for this link, which he sent months ago, so it is probably dead by now]
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