Posthumous births have been recognized since antiquity when a husband or male partner died from illness, from accident, or in war after conception and pregnancy had been achieved, but before the resulting birth has occurred. Legally and socially, the ensuing child has been usually considered the rightful heir of the deceased father. As an “act of fate,” there are few ethical or legal problems raised by posthumous births except the question of whether starting a family was prudent if death could reasonably have been anticipated. Posthumous reproduction, on the other hand, first became possible only after semen could be frozen and used for artificial insemination after the donor was deceased. The legal and social status of a child born from these origins has been ambiguous at best, even if the insemination and pregnancy occur with the wife of the dead man.
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