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The Boston Globe

Nation

Supreme Court wrestles with child benefits

Justices try to key law with artificial insemination

WASHINGTON - Karen Capato used the frozen sperm of her deceased husband to conceive twins, but the government denied them Social Security benefits as their father’s survivors. Her situation, more common as reproductive technology advances, had a mostly unsympathetic Supreme Court grappling Monday with the definition of “child,’’ inheritance law and artificial insemination.

The case had justices trying to reconcile a 1930s law that gave Social Security survivor benefits to the dependent “child or legally adopted child’’ of a person with modern biotechnology that allows a man to bank his sperm for use months or years later to produce a child he will never see.

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