POSTHUMOUS SPERM SAMPLE: THE ISRAELI LEGAL SYSTEM INTERVENES

A 50 year-old Israeli couple have fought for the legal system to authorise posthumous sperm retrieval from their son who died in a car accident at the age of 25. They want to “give him the chance” to father a child because he wanted “a family”. “Keen to become grandparents”, they want to raise this child themselves.

In September, the Petah Tikva Family Court granted permission to the family to raise the child to be conceived from their son’s sperm and purchased eggs. The family had decided to implant the eggs in the uterus of a surrogate mother. However, despite the decision given in September, the Court announced that the family should prepare for an appeal given the unusual circumstances of the case brought by this couple who want to be both parents and grandparents to their son’s offspring. Pending a final decision, the Court has placed an injunction on the couple, banning them from using their deceased son’s sperm.

This case of posthumous sperm retrieval is the first of its kind in Israel. Since 2003, Israeli law has authorised the retrieval of posthumous sperm samples only for subsequent insemination or implantation by in-vitro fertilisation or for the deceased person’s wife to be inseminated. Some countries authorise posthumous sperm retrieval if the deceased has left written authorisation to this effect. It is prohibited in France, Germany and Sweden.

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