Mother fights for bill recognizing heirship status for IVF children conceived after parent dies

State senators have until April 10 to bring up House Bill 1542.

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Elyse McDill is truly a miracle baby. IVF allowed Katie Studdard and her late husband, Chris McDill, to have the child they have always dreamed of, even if he never got to meet his little girl.

“I had my child through in vitro fertilization after my husband passed away from brain cancer. We started the process before he died, but I did not successfully get pregnant until a year and a half after he died,” said Studdard.

Now, five years later, Studdard is still trying to get Mississippi to recognize her daughter as a living heir of her late husband.

“When applying for social security benefits after my child was born, she was denied because of how our current state laws read,” said Studdard.

Studdard said there has been some progress in the state dealing with in vitro fertilization babies but there’s still more recognition about IVF needed.

“I feel like we have come so far with IVF. Making fertility issues in women known to people because a lot of people do not understand the journey and it is such an emotional journey as it is, and I just want to raise awareness,” said Studdard

Studdard wants the state to see her daughter Elyse McDill treated with more respect.

“The fact that the state does not see her as having a legal father, they are not denying that she is his biological child, they are denying that she is his legal child. The fact that the state in which she resides does not view her as that, is just very disheartening,” said Studdard.

Studdard knows this legislation will help her family and others.

“It would be a game changer to me, I had a lady reach out to me and she is currently doing in vitro after the death of her husband, and she told me to please not give up because she really needed me. So, this is important not only for my child but for future children,” said Studdard.

State Representative Dana McLean wrote the bill.

We will keep you updated on its status. The legislation has died the last several years without action at the state Capitol.

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