The Israel Health Ministry has allowed parents to circumvent usual legal procedures to retrieve the sperms of their sons – civilian or military – who were killed during the ongoing war against Hamas. The ministry has instructed the families to retrieve the sperm before burial.
According to the Times of Israel, sperm has been received from 33 men during the course of the war since last month. Four of these fallen people were civilians while the rest were soldiers. A special 24×7 unit has been set up with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and four hospitals housing sperm banks.
During normal tries, parents who sought posthumous sperm retrieval (PSR) of their fallen son were required to obtain an order from a family court, while widows could do that without any legal bureaucracy. Now this requirement has been eliminated, albeit temporarily.
The ministry said that sperm must be collected within 24 hours after death to increase its chances of viability when it is later unfrozen and used to fertilize an egg. However, experts say that PSR can be performed even several days after death when sperm is no longer motile.
“We look for and prefer sperm that are moving. But even sperm that is not motile does not mean that it is not alive. We know how to make it move after it is unfrozen,” said Dr. Yuval Or, head of the IVF unit at Kaplan Medical Center.
Hamas militants launched an unprecedented assault on Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostages. Additionally, nearly 240 people have been taken hostage and over 30 soldiers who are participating in ground operations in Gaza have been killed.
Israel has been carrying out devastating strikes on Gaza in response and has now also launched a ground offensive. The number of Palestinians killed in the war passed 10,500, including more than 4,300 children, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated that there would be no ceasefire in its war against Hamas until the latter releases the hostages it captured on October 7. Israel has managed to cut the territory in half and encircle Gaza City. It also destroyed 130 tunnels operated by the militant group to transport supplies and fighters.