HB seeking to redefine heirship for IVF children makes way to Senate floor

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Katie Studdard has been fighting a battle since the day her daughter was born.

Four years ago, she became a mother to Elyse who was conceived via IVF by her late husband, Chris McDill who died of cancer in 2016.

Although Eylse is biologically her late father’s daughter, the State of Mississippi does not recognize her as a survivor or heir due to her unique circumstances.

Current House Bill 996 aims to correct that injustice.

Elyse is like any other four-year-old.

She likes to play on the playground, count her numbers, and spend time with her mother.

But to this day, she is not considered an heir to her late father, Chris McDill, because she was conceived via IVF two years after he died.

Studdard said a bill introduced in the Mississippi Legislature, HB 996, would change that.

“I just want her to know that she is important in the state in which she lives and was born and the state sees her as that and that they recognize how important Chris was as a citizen,” said Studdard.

Representative Dana McLean has been working with Elyse’s mother, Katie Studdard on this bill since the beginning.

The bill has passed the House of Representatives.

Now they are waiting on the Senate.

“Current intestate law allows for a child that is born/conceived during a decedent’s life but yet the parent may die before the child is born. This allows for a child who is actually conceived after death and the only way that can happen is through assisted reproduction,” said McLean.

Studdard said this bill would not only help her family but others who are in a similar position.

“All of our surrounding states have pretty much jumped on board with this issue and correcting this issue. This is something great this is something that is going to help future children,” said Studdard.

Studdard said Elyse has been a fighter since before she was born.

And she will continue to raise her daughter to fight for what she believes in.

“When you have children and your whole way of thinking is entirely different because now the top priority is your child and I want her to know how special she is and how special human beings in general are and never stop fighting for what is right,” said Studdard.

Elyse is growing up to understand her unique journey.

Her family hopes to see HB 996 pass during this legislative session.

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