The Jerusalem Post - The Jerusalem Post Magazine
As clearly portrayed in Shlomo Brody’s analysis of posthumous sperm donation in Israel (“Fatherhood after death,” August 12), significant medico-legal-psychological issues arise out of new reproductive technologies. Israeli courts, in fact, are quite sympathetic to the distress of those parents of deceased soldiers who want to bring grandchildren to the world from the sperm of their late child. From the perspective of the prospective child, it is of little concern whether the sperm was extracted posthumously or deposited prior to death. What is of consequence is the perceived best interest of this unborn child.
Adults in general, and perhaps even more so surviving parents armed with the last will and testament of soldiers killed in action or who have otherwise died during serving the country, are able to lobby MKs to promote a particular agenda however worthy or controversial it may be. Not so the unborn child who at this point is no more than sperm in a vial surrounded by liquid nitrogen, and an egg in some unknown and not-yet-determined woman or egg bank.
Who can advocate for the rights of this yet-to-be-born child? Who can determine if it is in his or her best interest to be born knowing a priori that he will not have a mother or father? Is it in his or her best interest to be a living testament or monument to the terrible tragedy that befell his grandparents? The last will and testament carries significant legal and moral weight. But what of the “first” will of the yet-to-be-born child? Can we make decisions on its behalf without first understanding its true thoughts and feelings? The grieving parents arouse in us sympathy, empathy and guilt. But should this be acted upon at the expense of the psychological well-being of the unborn child?
DANIEL S. GOTTLIEB Ra’anana The writer is director of clinical studies at the Shinui Institute.