On March 22, 2013, the Journal of Law and Health of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law hosted a symposium entitled the “Legal and Ethical Implications of Posthumous Reproduction” in response to the United States Supreme Court case Astrue v Capato. In Astrue, Karen Capato used Robert Capato’s sperm to successfully conceive twins by in vitro fertilization eighteen months after Robert Capato’s death. Karen then applied for Social Security Survivorship Benefits on behalf of the twins, but to her dismay the Social Security Administration denied her application, prompting litigation on the twins’ behalf. The Supreme Court held that the posthumously conceived children were not "children" under the Social Security Act. The court found that Social Security Administration’s reading of Title II of the Social Security Act deserved deference regarding inheritance rights of posthumously conceived children. Writing for the unanimous Court, Justice Ginsberg noted that the lower court’s interpretation of “child” was correct and served the core purpose of the Act, which was to provide benefits for dependents of wage earners after their death.

For its symposium, the Journal of Law and Health invited four scholars to discuss the implications of the Supreme Court’s holding in Astrue. Three of those scholars agreed to provide this publication with insightful articles in the wake of the Astrue opinion.