Relationships with in-laws can be pretty tricky at the best of times, but after losing your spouse, things may become even more strained and difficult.
One woman, who says her husband recently passed away due to cancer, has shared the uncomfortable position she’s found herself in with his parents.
Taking to Reddit, the unnamed widow asked for some perspective on a situation she claimed to be in involving her late husband’s sperm.
In an eyebrow-raising post, the woman explains that before his passing, her husband had frozen some of his sperm in hopes the couple could have children after his chemotherapy.
Writing on Reddit’s Am I The A**hole forum, she said: “AITA for not wanting to give my late husband’s sperm to his parents?
“I’m sorry, I really tried to think of a less silly title.
“When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, we froze his sperm so we could have children via insemination even after chemotherapy. His parents were very involved in his treatment and were aware that we were doing this. His treatment was unfortunately unsuccessful, and he passed away on July 19th.
“His parents asked me if I was considering being inseminated with his sperm, and I said no. Then they asked me if I could transfer ownership of the sperm to them, so they could use it to have grandchildren. I assume they’re planning on hiring a surrogate for this, but I’ll admit I was so surprised and confused I didn’t actually ask.”
The woman admits that her gut reaction to their proposal was that it was “wrong” and “exploitative”, so she said no.
She adds: “We froze his sperm because we wanted to raise a family together and freezing his sperm seemed like a better option than adopting or using a sperm donor, not because he wanted to give his parents grandkids or just put his DNA out into the world for the sake of it.
“I’m also confused about who they expect to raise this child or children, as they’re both in their 60s. The surrogate? One of their nieces or nephews? My husband had no siblings, and I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it. It feels like they just want their bloodline to continue without any thought to the practicality of it.”
Her post garnered a lot of attention on the site, with over 1,600 people responding to it.
One person said: “First, I’m so sorry you lost your husband. Second, I’m sorry these people are your in-laws.
“Your husband has been gone for less than two weeks, and they’re circling like vultures asking you to make major decisions. They are grieving, too, but there’s just no excuse.
“Tell them that everything you’ve read suggests that it’s important not to make any major decisions for a year after a spouse’s death. Tell them you appreciate them telling you what they’re thinking, but you’re going to table that and all other major decisions until a year has passed. Please don’t ask again.”
Another commented: “To be fair, they are also grieving. This could be some outlandish thing in their minds right now, but once they process their grief they may not feel the same way.”
A third replied: “Most clinics or sperm banks will not transfer ownership to a person who is not the next of kin. Unless your husband had a power of attorney or will that specifically said that your in laws can assume ownership of his frozen sperm and use it for insemination with a surrogate, clinics will not accept it because it is taking on a major liability. The owner of the semen (your husband) would have been the only one who can consent to how this is used unless you have accepted ownership.”