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Palestinian prisoners smuggle out sperm, claims fertility doctor

18 February 2013
Appeared in BioNews 693

Palestinian prisoners are reportedly smuggling sperm out of Israeli prisons to impregnate their wives. The claims made by Dr Saalem Abu al-Kheizaran, the Palestinian fertility doctor who has admitted to performing the artificial inseminations, follow similar admissions made last year regarding prisoner Ammar Ziben (see BioNews 670).

'The successful experience of detainee Ammar Ziben encouraged other prisoners who managed to sneak out their sperm,' said Dr Kheizaran, head of the Razan Fertility Clinic in Nablus, Palestine, at a news conference reported by Al Jazeera.

Dr Kheizaran announced in August 2012 that Dallal Ziben, whose husband Ammar Ziben is serving 32 life sentences in an Israeli prison, gave birth to a boy after being inseminated with her husband's smuggled sperm. Since these claims Dr Kheizaran asserts that his fertility clinic has received 'dozens of [sperm] samples' from prisoners, leading to four other pregnancies.

The clinic cannot irrefutably confirm the samples are from these prisoners but Dr Kheizaran stated at the news conference: 'The samples were received in an accurate and sure fashion in the presence of family members of the spouses', as reported by Al Jazeera.

Dr Khaizaran, Dallal Ziben and the four other pregnant women will not disclose any details of how the sperm was smuggled out of the prisons. 'I'm not going to tell so I won't ruin it for other people', said Rimah Silawi, one of the pregnant women, to CNN. 'We women are growing old and our chances of having babies in the future is diminishing', said Silawi, reports the Guardian.

Conjugal visits for Palestinian prisoners are not permitted in Israeli prisons, although they are allowed for some Israeli prisoners. Dr Kheizaran stated at the news conference: 'The wives of prisoners are suffering. They feel they are lonely because their husbands are behind bars, some for the rest of their lives, and they are eager to have babies that can make a difference in their lives', reports the Guardian.

The Israeli Prison Service is doubtful of Dr Kheizaran's claims. Sivan Weizman, spokesperson for the prison service, stated: 'The women who do come to the prisons don't have direct contact with the detainees and when they leave they must pass through controls', reports Al Jazeera. Weizman added: 'As we understand it, sperm cannot survive more than one hour outside the body or laboratory conditions. We doubt anyone got pregnant this way', reports the Guardian.

Dr Kheizaran concluded that: 'Really the one who pays the price, the heavy price, is the woman. If I can do anything to help these women I will do it', reports the Guardian.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
An Unlikely Path to Palestinian Fatherhood
New York Times |  7 February 2013
Palestinian inmates 'sneak sperm out of jail'
Aljazeera |  7 February 2013
Palestinian prisoners in Israel 'smuggling out sperm'
Guardian |  8 February 2013
Sperm smuggling alleged at terror prison
CNN International |  9 February 2013
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