Sperm transfer from dead soldier gets go-ahead in Israel
AN ISRAELI family court has set a world precedent by approving this week a request from the parents of a dead soldier to allow them to donate his sperm to a woman the dead man did not know.
This is also the only case in the world in which a court has permitted a woman to be inseminated by a known sperm donor who was not her partner. The parents brought the case to fulfil the desire of their slain son, Keivin Cohen, to establish a family.
Irit Rosenblum, the lawyer who appeared for the parents at the Ramat Gan family court, told the JC that there were precedents for couples to ask for the man’s sperm to be used after his death by his partner. But in this case, said Ms Rosenblum, the dead man did not know the woman who would be receiving his sperm, while the woman knew the donor’s identity.
Ms Rosenblum, who heads the New Family organisation for the advance- ment of family rights in Israel, said she had drawn up an agreement between the dead soldier’s parents and the mother — one of 40 women who had expressed an interest in carrying the dead soldier’s child — in which the soldier’s parents would be recognised as the child’s grandparents. The a g r e e ment a l s o s t i p u l a t e d , s h e said, that — in any disagreement over the child’s upbringing between the mother and the grandparents — the mother’s view would prevail.
The dead soldier was killed by Palestinian sniper fire while serving in the Gaza Strip in August 2002. After his death, a sample of his sperm was preserved at the Sheba Medical Centre and the hospital asked the court’s per- mission to use the sperm as requested by his parents.
Family Court Judge Alisa Miller said that the decision was made in accordance with the parents’ request and was an isolated ruling.
“The ruling resolves the present incident but does not affect other incidents,” she said.
The petition was brought by the soldier’s parents, who said he had talked of wanting to establish a family. After his death, the parents contacted New Family, which has formulated a “biological will” for soldiers, in which they can state whether they want their sperm used should they be killed in action, to see if their son’s wishes could be honoured.
Ms Rosenblum pointed out that the parents have other children as well as a granddaughter. “They’re not obsessive about becoming grandparents,” she said. “They’re fulfilling their son’s wishes.”