Jerusalem, Nov 9 (PTI) Israel is allowing parents to circumvent usual legal procedures to have the sperm of their fallen soldier sons, or civilian sons killed during the war with Hamas to be retrieved before burial to increase its chances of viability when it is later unfrozen and used to fertilize an egg, media reports here said.
Posthumous sperm retrieval (PSR) during normal times can be done at the request of a widow without any need for legal bureaucracy, but parents who want their dead son’s sperm to be retrieved and preserved must obtain an order from a family court.
The Israeli Health Ministry has exempted this requirement, at least temporarily, The Times of Israel newspaper reported.
Sperm has been retrieved from 33 men in the last month, four of them civilians and the rest soldiers, a report in the Ha'aretz newspaper said.
The ministry has set up a special unit that works 24/7 with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and the four hospitals housing sperm banks — Ichilov, Sheba, Shamir (Assaf Harofeh), and Beilinson — to notify families of the option of PSR and set it up as quickly as possible following the death of their son or husband, the report said.
Sperm should be retrieved within 24 hours after death to increase its chances of viability when it is later unfrozen and used to fertilise an egg.
However, experts say that PSR can be performed even several days after death when sperm is no longer motile, the report said.
“We look for and prefer sperm that are moving. But even sperm that is not motile does not mean that it is not alive. We know how to make it move after it is unfrozen,” Dr Yuval Or, Head of the IVF unit at Kaplan Medical Center, was quoted as saying.
Hamas militants launched an unprecedented assault on Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostages.
Israel has been carrying out strikes on Gaza since then in response and has now also launched a ground offensive. More than 10,500 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. PTI HM NSA NSA