A recent story in the Des Moines Register Dead Iowan fathers child; is daughter entitled to survivor benefits? illustrates the need for the laws, in Iowa and elsewhere, to catch up to today's technologies or at begin discussion of bioethics for certain medical situations that have significant legal impacts.
Patti Beeler is fighting for social security benefits for her daughter, who was conceived after the death of the girl's father from frozen sperm after the father died from cancer. This story is another example of why laws need to be updated to address these types of situations. This case is just one of several that will likely continue to emerge in the near future as courts from around the country have taken opposite positions as to whether a posthumously conceived child is entitled to inherit. Iowa laws currently do not permit such a child to inherit as an heir as the child was conceived after the biological parent's death. See Iowa Code 633.220. The social security administration looks to local law to determine who would qualify as a dependent for purposes of social security benefits. Thus, Iowa law is not favorable for this little girl, who will never know her father.