The Health Ministry has decided to appeal to the Supreme Court against a ruling by Jerusalem District Court Judge Yehonathan Adiel that allowed sperm from a married man to be used for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) of a single woman he knows without informing his wife.
On Sunday, the ministry sent a copy of its appeal to all the directors of IVF units and all sperm banks in Israeli hospitals. Signed by ministry legal adviser Mira Huebner, the appeal stated that allowing the fertilization of ova by sperm from a married man without his wife's knowledge or permission would expose the doctor who performed the IVF and the medical institution where he works to a lawsuit by the wife, whose arguments should be heard in advance.
If, for example, the man refuses to give his wife a divorce and turns her into an aguna ("anchored woman") who cannot remarry without his agreement, the ministry lawyer argued, this could be a consideration for refusing approval for the use of his sperm to fertilize another woman's eggs.
The woman who asked for permission to use the man's sperm is 45, unmarried, and cannot become pregnant without fertility treatments, the document says. She does not want an anonymous sperm donation stored in a sperm bank for producing implantable embryos. The single woman and the married man are not living together as a couple, the appeal says. He is still living with his wife, who "knows nothing about the connection between her husband" and the single woman.
The ministry requested that the lower court's approval be canceled, and that when a request for IVF using sperm from a married man is heard, the court must hear the wife's opinion before the fertilization is performed. In any case, the ministry is considering new legislation that will deal with the "sensitive and complicated" matter of in-vitro fertilization in Israel.