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Inheritance Rights for Posthumously Procreated Children: A Growing Challenge for the Law

Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal. 2018;21:1-30 DOI 10.17159/1727-3781/2018/v21i0a4211


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal

ISSN: 1727-3781 (Online)

Publisher: North-West University

Society/Institution: Faculty of Law, North-West University

LCC Subject Category: Law: Law in general. Comparative and uniform law. Jurisprudence

Country of publisher: South Africa

Language of fulltext: Dutch, English, German, Afrikaans

Full-text formats available: PDF, XML



Frederick Noel Zaal (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal of South-Africa )

Justin d'Almaine (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal of South-Africa)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Significant advances in cryogenic technology render it possible to freeze and store human gametes. Under appropriate laboratory conditions frozen gametes can remain viable for long periods of time. In consequence, it is possible for a child to be conceivedand procreated after the death of one or both parents. This raises some challenging juristic problems. Amongst these are implications for the law of inheritance. Where a valid will expressly refers to a child who will be procreated after the testator's death, the child's right to inherit will be secured. However, where a will merely refers to children as a class, or with intestate succession, it becomes uncertain whether a posthumously procreated child has a right to inherit. South African legislation governing succession, the common law and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 all fail to provide definitive answers. Because of this and as the numbers of posthumously procreated children are likely to increase as artificial reproduction services become more widely available, there is a need for South African legislation to clarify their inheritance rights.