According to the Associated Press, March 8:
A judge has granted a mother's request to have someone harvest sperm from her dead son's body, so she can have the option of carrying out his wish to have children.
Nikolas Colton Evans, 21, died Sunday at a Brackenridge hospital after being punched and falling outside an Austin [TX] bar March 27.
His mother, Marissa Evans, [said]... he wanted to have 3 sons someday and had even picked out their names: Hunter, Tod and Van.
"I want him to live on. I want to keep a piece of him," she [said]....
Judge Guy Herman ruled Monday in an emergency hearing requested by the mother, because of the urgency of collecting the sperm intact....
Court documents said the sperm had to be collected within 24 hours of Nikolas Evans being removed from life support unless the body was cooled to no more than 39.2 degrees.
Herman ordered the county medical examiner's office to continue storing the body at the proper temperature until the sperm could be collected....
University of TX law professor John Robertson, who specializes in bioethics, said state law gives parents control over a child's body for organ and tissue donations but its use for sperm "is very unclear."
"There are no strong precedents in favor of a parent being able to request post-mortem sperm retrieval," he said.
No arrests have been made in the assault on Nikolas Evans. Investigators said Evans hit his head on the ground after he was punched during an argument with a group of men.
Here's a Today Show interview with Evans' mom:
I feel bad for Marissa, but this is just morbid and wrong. She admitted on the Today Show she wants these grandchildren so she'll feel better about losing her son. This appears to be all about her, and the procreational foundation (she wants to use a surrogate mother) is so far off the unnatural charts. This will not be good for the children.
[HT: proofreader Angela]
The logical implication of this whole effort is that one doesn't have to even be alive to be a father - in fact, every aspect of fatherhood in the tradition sense is rejected.
This is a mockery of what it means to be a man. Ethically, it makes the same kind of fallacious assumption that occurred with Terri Schindler-Schiavo.Posted by: Chris Arsenault at April 9, 2009 11:23 AM
Sick, sick, sick.
"Your father? Oh, he's dead. He wasn't even alive when you were conceived and your mother, yeah, we paid her to birth you."
I get that the woman is greiving her son, but to create children in this circumstance for the purpose of healing her heart, with no regard to the children (and the genetic consequences of having half their genes from sperm that could be seriously flawed- not to mention no real parents, just a woman selling her body and children for money and a dead father)...
Sick, sick, sick.Posted by: Jacqueline at April 9, 2009 11:28 AM
It doesn't appear like this mother gave her son a father, so it's not so strange that she would artificially create children with no father.
And technically, no mother either.Posted by: Jacqueline at April 9, 2009 11:30 AM
And if three little girls are conceived??Posted by: Carla at April 9, 2009 11:31 AM
I saw this a few days ago in our local paper. I don't even know what to say.Posted by: Lauren at April 9, 2009 11:33 AM
I agree. There's more to being a father than being a source of sperm, it's the daily interaction with the child that makes a real father!
In her grief, Nikolas' mother wants "to keep a piece of him". I can understand that, but I don't think saving his sperm and possibly creating a child in the future who won't know his father is the best way to go about it.Posted by: Janet at April 9, 2009 11:37 AM
And if three little girls are conceived??
They'll be Hunter, Tod and Van...
Or she'll keep making babies until she gets her three boys.
She apparently has no regard for these babies. Grieving people do strange things- Indeed, hurting people hurt people- and that's why those of us not grieving, in our sound minds shouldn't allow this sort of thing.Posted by: Jacqueline at April 9, 2009 11:37 AM
Carla, sex-selection abortions takes care of that "problem".
You're assuming 1:1 conception to implantation ratio. Unlikely. If making your dead son a sperm donor isn't ethically whacked, not much else is either.Posted by: Chris Arsenault at April 9, 2009 11:37 AM
Hey, Lauren- Can you call me? I can't find my phone around here...Posted by: Jacqueline at April 9, 2009 11:38 AM
Yeah, I'll call.Posted by: Lauren at April 9, 2009 11:49 AM
This is very sad. Marissa Evans needs our prayers to get through her grief.Posted by: Janet at April 9, 2009 11:50 AM
It's going straight to voicemail now. Did you find it?Posted by: Lauren at April 9, 2009 11:54 AM
I hope that the mother takes several things into question:
Did her son wish to become a sperm donor? And does she really have the finances to afford this?
Other than that, I am not certain what to make of this. She is clearly grieving, and for that I would like to extend my sorrows over her loss. Her son had intentions of being a great father, though it must be said that harvesting parts of him shan't bring him back.
I hope that she is doing well, though. So sad that he died at so young an age. :(.Posted by: Vannah at April 9, 2009 11:54 AM
This is gross. I can maybe see a wife wanting to freeze sperm from her spouse. But I recall watching a news program or something like that where another mom lost her son and did this same thing.
This all seems very selfish but I hope she can see past her selfish intentions and grieve.
Crud- I must have turned it off. Grrr.Posted by: Jacqueline at April 9, 2009 12:39 PM
Silly me. I keep forgetting just how convenient abortion is when you are a mom trying to be a grandma, trying to be a mom with your deceased son's sperm......
I agree about grief.
Get ready for more of this in the future.Posted by: Carla at April 9, 2009 12:42 PM
Is there any evidence that the son really wanted to be a father and had these names picked out? This is just so bizarre.
Isn't there anyone who could argue for the son's bodily autonomy? He was 21, and in no ways a minor. Why should his mother have any legal claim on his sperm? Does that mean I can claim to have known any random person killed in a car wreck to ask for their sperm or eggs?
Whew. Hal or Doug, may I ask what your take on this is, if you're reading? Sometimes it is issues like this where I get a clearer picture of your frame of belief.Posted by: Michael at April 9, 2009 12:47 PM
Thanks for asking. I think it's morally wrong. But, I'm not a fan of IVF at all. I'm sorry that she lost her son. To me, this isn't the solution.
The legality of it is more confusing. I don't understand the judge's ruling, but I don't know what arguments were made. Probably, no one was opposing the petition, so maybe the Judge just figured he'd go along with it. Obviously, he had to make a decision very quickly, and so maybe he erred on the side of allowing it.Posted by: Hal at April 9, 2009 1:19 PM
Another sad case of children being treated as property, reinforcing the ideology that children may be created and destroyed as people see fit.Posted by: kath at April 9, 2009 1:56 PM
Interesting question: Does this mean we have to put in our wills that no one may harvest our eggs and sperm to create our children after we die?Posted by: Jacqueline at April 9, 2009 5:08 PM
weird.Posted by: Heather at April 9, 2009 5:24 PM
I'm wondering if this could open us up for gamete donation becoming a common form of organ donation.Posted by: lauren at April 9, 2009 6:10 PM
Do any of you that have made some of these comments that are just so hateful and making asumptions of of her or her situation know Missy or did you know Nick???? Have you yourself been through any kind of a tragedy that would give you the right to judge her?????Posted by: Anonymous at April 9, 2009 9:29 PM
Right is right and wrong is wrong, and we are judging her actions as wrong, since they are clearly wrong. I don't have to personally know a child abuser to condemn child abuse, or a know a rapist to condemn rape. So I don't have to know her to condemn her stealing sperm from her son to create children to make herself feel better. Her motivations are to heal her grief (which is understandable), but at the expense of grandchildren that will not have real parents is not an acceptable thing.
I know she's hurting- which is why she should be stopped from hurting her grandchildren.
No, I don't know this woman. She obviously loved her son and is hurting. That doesn't justify raping him post-mortem to create children to make herself feel better.Posted by: Jacqueline at April 9, 2009 10:50 PM
Carla: I suspect the children would be conceived by IVF, and only the boys would be implanted.
That said, we can always hope that she waits before fulfilling this idea of hers--even if only to save up the money--and sees the foolishness of what she wants to do. And it's possible that in her desire to see more of her son live on, she would at least release the extra embryos for adoption instead of having them killed.
I can believe that they had a conversation that involved what he would name his kids and how many he wanted. It is worth pointing out that this conversation may have been instigated by her, and may have been when he was much younger. She may have pieced together several conversations to come up with this "last request." I doubt, though, that it was something he thought about that much or would want his mom to do, though I could be wrong.
Usually, though, men don't want to spend several hours each day discussing names for children that aren't yet conceived, especially with no mother for those children, and especially with their mothers. Men are so weird.Posted by: YCW at April 10, 2009 6:46 AM
And it's possible that in her desire to see more of her son live on, she would at least release the extra embryos for adoption instead of having them killed.
Adopted embryos die, too, though. People seem to think the problem with IVF is extra babies that don't get a chance to implant and grow- when the real problem with IVF is that it kills 90% of the babies it makes. So even if she separated the X and Y sperm before conception to ensure boys, she can implant dozens of boys that will die before she gets her three that she wants. With IVF, she will make grandchildren that will die. Assuredly.
Posted by: Jacqueline at April 10, 2009 6:53 AM
If God takes a person's life, children weren't a part of his plan. I DO understand this woman's pain, but she could always adopt a child.Posted by: Heather at April 10, 2009 7:17 AM
..And Matt asked the question "Wouldn't he want to be here to raise his own kids"?...God bless her for organ donation though!!! She probably helped save many lives in that respect. I do apologize for saying it was weird. I just now watched the video.Posted by: Heather at April 10, 2009 7:34 AM
I did not know Missy. I did not know Nick. I can hardly imagine the grief of losing a son who was loved much.(I have 3 of my own.)I am so very sorry that she lost her son so young.
Posted by: Carla
at April 10, 2009 7:39 AM
I am afraid for the future and what this court ruling means for grieving families.
Carla, I don't imagine this will become popular even with this court ruling. I think it's a once in a generation kind of story. (I hope so, anyway)Posted by: Hal at April 10, 2009 8:49 AM
I hope so too, Hal. :)Posted by: Carla at April 10, 2009 9:02 AM
Hal, I actually tend to agree with you on this on also.Posted by: Heather at April 10, 2009 9:47 AM
Jacqueline, I don't think IVF is good regardless, because I do know that it kills so many children. But I think it's even worse to kill children by discarding them or pulling them apart for research than if they are given a chance and don't make it. If this woman uses IVF to create children for her son, some of the babies will probably die, and that will be awful. But if she makes these babies, and then has those grandchildren she doesn't want killed, it is even worse. Sorry if I misstated my opinion.Posted by: YCW at April 10, 2009 10:19 AM
I know that this may sound really off-base (because it is), but people have mentioned IVF so I thought that I ought to ask:
Is there a difference between IVF and artificial insemination? I think so, but am not sure what the difference would be.
I hope that that doesn't sound stupid...I'm feeling kind of lonely down here when you guys go into your talks about this and that, science and ethics, about fertility treatments. :(Posted by: Vannah at April 10, 2009 10:28 AM
Vannah, my understanding is that artificial insemination is used to describe impregnating a woman with sperm more or less the old fashioned way (but without the sexual activity). IVF takes an egg from woman and mixes it with sperm in a lab, and then takes the fertilized egg and tries to implant it into the womb.Posted by: Hal at April 10, 2009 11:17 AM
Posted by: Hal at April 10, 2009 11:17 AM
Hal - embryos are implanted - not a "fertilized egg". The egg has ceased to be. It's no longer an oocyte any more than one would call an ever increasing glass of water a melted ice-cube.
Chris, you're right, embryo is a better word. (An embryo starts as a fertilized egg, however) Anyway, I meant no disrespect for embryos and I wasn't trying to advance any ideological argument.Posted by: Hal at April 10, 2009 3:50 PM
Posted by: Hal at April 10, 2009 3:50 PM
Hal - I knew you weren't being malicious. Maybe I'm sensitive to the issue - particularly after Bill Clinton discussed "fertilized embryos". The use of the term "fertilized egg" is pervasive, but completely incorrect when it comes to describing what something is after fertilization is complete. I discuss it in detail here: