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.

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