The National Labor Court has ruled that children artificially conceived after a parent’s death are entitled to survivors’ benefits, paid to orphans when a working parent has died.
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The case, which was heard over six years, dealt with M., a teacher who asked that sperm be extracted from his body before he died so his wife could give birth to their children. In 2004, two years after M.’s death, a daughter, G., was born through artificial insemination. The wife had a second daughter through the same method in 2011.
In 2008, the mother contacted the civil service commissioner and asked that she and her first daughter be deemed eligible for survivors’ benefits. Simultaneously, she filed a claim with Haifa Regional Labor Court, asking for a declarative order stating that she and her daughter are eligible for the benefit.
The central question was whether a child conceived through artificial insemination after one of the parents dies is entitled to survivors’ benefits under the Civil Service Law. The court sought to determine whether there should be a distinction between a minor who was conceived after her father’s death, and a child conceived before the father died but born after he died.
The court ruled last week that in terms of the pension law, whose aim is to help support a child who was financially dependent on the deceased parent, there is no substantial difference between the minor in question and a child conceived before the father’s death, and that the treasury must pay survivors’ benefits to such children.
“The law must adapt itself to the reality of a changing world, and the law must be given a dynamic interpretation that will dovetail with and enhance the modern reality,” the court wrote.
The state appealed the ruling in the National Labor Court, arguing that use of a dead man’s sperm has no time limits and could result in the birth of numerous children, causing an unforeseeable burden on the public purse.
The national court rejected the appeal, ruling that both the daughter and her younger sister were entitled to the benefits.