From the Wool-sack

Publication year1991
CitationVol. 20 No. 2 Pg. 261
20 Colo.Law. 261
Colorado Lawyer

1991, February, Pg. 261. FROM THE WOOL-SACK


Vol. 20, No. 2, Pg. 261


by Christopher R. Brauchli

Birth and copulation and death, That's all the facts when you come to brass tacks. T.S. Eliot, Sweeney Agonistes

At long last, future interest lawyers are getting the recognition and appreciation they've believed themselves entitled to and have not received from their brethren at the bar. And we who have long scoffed at our brethren who not only knew but could intelligently apply the Rule Against Perpetuities, in Shelley's case, etc., have received our come-up-pance. That's because the Fertile Octogenarian is alive and well.

Thanks to the marvels of modern science she, whose supposed presence somewhere in the dim and poorly understood future caused us to contemplate any interest that extended beyond our noses with considerable care, may be found in our very own living rooms. Indeed, some of my readers may be she.

In news that rivals in significance the news that decaffeinated coffee is good for you and real coffee is not (followed within weeks by the news that real coffee is good for you and decaffeinated is not), medical science now proudly announces the discovery of the Fertile Octogenarian.

Belief in the existence of this mischievous and slightly whimsical 80-year-old woman who could, in defiance of all known medical theories, conceive and give birth to a child, gave birth to legal rules which even the most conscientious lawyer found difficult to comprehend. The great news is that the student who was diligent enough to figure out the rule will be rewarded by being able to use his or her knowledge in real-life situations.

In a recent edition of The New England Journal of Medicine, it is reported (although not quite in these terms) that a woman of 80 will no longer be considered fertile only in the mind of some legal scholar tucked away in a law library.

The 80-year-old woman, medicine reports, is as capable of reproduction as her 20-year-old counterpart.

Researchers at the University of Southern California have discovered that the reason older women have not had children in the past has nothing to do with the condition of their uteri. The eggs (or lack thereof) in older women are the problem. If egg donors are used and properly fertilized, the Journal reports, older women can undergo successful pregnancies as easily as...

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