The Supreme Court has recently made a move that suggests it may change a 2004 high court decision acknowledging a woman’s dead husband as the father of their son, who was born via in vitro fertilization after the father died, using frozen sperm.

The five-judge No. 2 petty bench, led by Justice Ryoji Nakagawa, decided Friday to begin a session July 7 on an appeal by prosecutors against the Takamatsu High Court ruling.

The plaintiff in the case is a woman living in western Japan who has asked not to be identified.

After giving birth in 2001, following her husband’s death from illness in 1999, the woman tried to register the baby as their son in a birth report to municipal authorities.

The application was rejected under the Civil Code, which does not recognize a baby born more than 300 days after the end of a marital relationship as a child born in wedlock.

On Nov. 12, 2003, the Matsuyama District Court rejected her demand, saying, “It could not be established that the father consented to posthumous in vitro fertilization.”

But on July 16, 2004, the Takamatsu High Court overturned the district court decision. It said the husband had given his consent and recognized him as the baby’s father.

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