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Archive for Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Court allows use of dead soldier’s sperm

January 30, 2007

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— In a precedent-setting decision, an Israeli court has ruled that a dead soldier's family can have his sperm impregnated into the body of a woman he never met.

Keivan Cohen, 20, was shot dead in 2002 by a Palestinian sniper in the Gaza Strip. He was single and left no will. But at the urging of his parents, a sample of his sperm was taken two hours after his death and has been stored in a hospital since.

When the family tried to gain access to the sperm, however, the hospital refused, on the ground that only a spouse could make such a request. Arguing that their son yearned to raise a family, his parents challenged that decision in court. And on Jan. 15, after a four-year legal battle, a Tel Aviv court granted the family's wish and ruled that the sperm could be injected into a woman selected by Cohen's family.

The ruling also ordered the Ministry of Interior to register any children born as a result of the insemination as children of the deceased.

Irit Rosenblum, a family rights advocate who represented the Cohen family, said the ruling was significant because it set a precedent for those seeking to continue bloodlines after death.

At the trial, Rosenblum presented testimony, including video recordings, in which Cohen expressed his desire to have children.

Rosenblum said soldiers increasingly have been leaving sperm samples, or explicit instructions on post-mortem extraction, before heading to battle.

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