NEWARK — Francia Prystauk stood before state pension board members earlier this month with a kind of story they had never heard before.
Her husband Gary, a retired Newark police captain, had died in a scuba diving accident in 2006, and she was there to seek pension benefits for their son. A routine enough request, except for one crucial detail — the child was conceived after her husband’s death.
Doctors had removed her husband’s sperm within hours of his death. The following year, Prystauk, became pregnant through in vitro fertilization and gave birth to Jacob Gary Stephen Prystauk nine months later. He’s now 3 years old and recognized by court order as Gary Prystauk’s son. But is he entitled to pension benefits?