Sperm trans­fer from dead sol­dier gets go-ahead in Is­rael

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY JEFF BARAK, JERUSALEM

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.”

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