The Unprecedented Case of a Baby Born 4 Years After His Parents’ Death

Tiantian was born late last year in China, to a surrogate mother, four years after both his parents died in a tragic car accident. His grandparents fought a long and complicated legal battle for the chance to bring their grandchild into this world.

The child’s parents, Shen Jie and Liu Xi, were married for a couple of years when they finally decided to give fertilization a try, after failing to conceive a child. In 2013, just five days before they were scheduled to have one of the fertilized eggs transplanted into Liu, the couple died in a car accident in China’s Jiangsu province. But their heartbroken parents, who knew how much they wanted to have a baby, decided to make their dream a reality. For the next three years, they fought for the rights to four frozen embryos left by their children.

This case was particularly difficult because there was no legal precedent as to whether the four grandparents could inherit their children’s frozen embryos. After years of court battles, they were finally granted rights over the embryos, but they immediately faced new problems. For example, they could not take the embryos from the Nanjing hospital they were stored at unless they could prove that another hospital was willing to store them.

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