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Fertility's New Legal Front
Advances in reproductive technology that were the stuff of science fiction just a few decades ago are wreaking havoc on a corner of the Social Security system—survivor benefits for some children whose parents have died.
Every year, more babies are born stemming from sperm or embryos that have been stored for months or years. In some cases, one parent has already died, usually the father.
Although the federal government generally must pay monthly benefits to children when parents die, the law is murky on whether it has to do the same for a child conceived after a parent's death. Sometimes, the Social Security Administration pays, sometimes it doesn't. So far, the decision has largely depended on the laws in the state in which the deceased parent lived.