The birth of the biological single parent?

May 1, 2009 Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust Tags: , , , , , ,


I couldn’t help but do a double-take when I came across an interesting article in the Globe and Mail by Anne McIlroy with the above-captioned title. 

Ms. McIllroy comments on the latest advances in stem-cell research, which indicate that it may be possible for someone to become a biological single parent – the source of both the egg and the sperm! 

How it seems to work is that adult skin cells can be turned into stem cells, and once they have been reprogrammed, these cells can be turned into many of the specialized cells that make up the human body. If some of the reprogrammed stem cells were transformed into sperm, and others into eggs, together they could be used to create an embryo. 

It hasn’t happened yet, but the possibility has made this a hot topic.   While it may be a discussion the Canadian legislature is not yet prepared to engage in (we have one of the more restrictive laws governing stem cell research), I would expect that if and when things change, advancements such as this will have widespread impact. 

I wonder how it can affect the estate planning area: Would it simplify estate planning by carving out spousal bequests and/or claims? Would it impact on how children of a testator are defined and/or treated? Would it increase the strength of a dependant support claim by the biological single parent child versus that of a competing child born with two biological parents?

I find the concept of biological single parenthood to be bizarre, unnatural and a little scary.  But perhaps I’m just too much of a traditionalist to keep up with this rapidly changing world of ours. 

Have a great weekend!



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