The US Supreme Court ruled Monday that twins conceived through in vitro fertilization after the death of their father cannot claim survivor benefits.
Karen Capato gave birth to twins 18 months after her husband died from cancer in 2002 using sperm he froze after being diagnosed with cancer.
The US Social Security system defers to state law when deciding whether to award claims for benefits to heirs conceived posthumously in the absence of a will. In this particular case, the dead man’s will made no mention of the twins but named his spouse, their son and two children from a previous marriage.
The state of Florida, where the couple lived, does not foresee the awarding of survivor benefits in the absence of specific mention in a will.
The unanimous ruling by the top US court reverses a previous court of appeals decision.
According to the US Social Security Administration, unmarried children under the age of 18, or in some cases 19 and younger, can be eligible to receive benefits when a parent dies.
At the hearing, the government said it had received more than a hundred requests to expand the rights for children conceived through artificial insemination after a parents dies.
[A scientific researcher works with embryonic stem cells from in vitro fertilization in a laboratory in 2008. AFP Photo/Mauricio Lima]