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Court rules Israeli parents cannot use dead son's sperm

06 February 2017

By Antony Blackburn-Starza

Appeared in BioNews 887

The parents of a deceased Israeli man have had their request to use his sperm rejected on appeal.

Omri Shahar, a member of the Israeli armed forces, was killed in a car accident in 2012 when he was 25 years old. Last year, a court gave permission to his parents to use his sperm, extracted after his death, for IVF using a surrogate and to raise a child. The state had opposed the application on welfare grounds, saying that any child born would be subject to 'planned orphanhood'. 

However, since then Israel's Supreme Court has ruled in another case against the parents of a man who sought to use his sperm, which had been stored posthumously. The man's widow opposed the parents' wishes and lodged the appeal herself. The state then successfully relied on this ruling to overturn the Shahar decision, with the appeal court holding that grandparents do not have any rights to future, as yet unborn, children. 

The Shahars' lawyer, Avidan Glowinsky, told The Times of Israel that the case at the Supreme Court was very different to the one at hand. 'In our case, there is no widow, and the young woman who was Omri's girlfriend at the time of his death is very supportive of what his parents are trying to do,' he said.

Glowinsky said that the family is now preparing an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Speaking about the case to the Times of Israel, Irit Shahar said: 'The court really threw us back. This is very hard for us emotionally. [My wife] and I haven't left the house for the past two days.'

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