Most say it’s OK to freeze ova or sperm for posthumous use

More women support posthumous use of reproductive material than men, 60% of the secular public, 59% of people aged 18 to 34.

May 9, 2011 03:54
2 minute read.
Sperm cells surround an embryo

Sperm cells surround an embryo 311. (photo credit: Debbi Morello/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

On the eve of Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism, a new survey has shown that more than half of Jewish Israelis would consider freezing sperm or eggs for posthumous use if they were in a life-threatening situation.

The study, conducted for the New Family organization, queried a representative sample of 500 Jewish adults.

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New Family said the results show a majority of the Jewish public – 54 percent – have a clear desire for continuity after death. Israel is the only country in the world with a Biological Will Bank, which is operated by a non-profit organization.

Biological wills are legal document in which people instruct others to use their reproductive cells to conceive a child after their death.

New Family founder and executive director Irit Rosenblum said the survey shows “that a revolutionary trend is developing in Israeli society. Until I developed the Biological Will, the question of freezing sperm or ova was not a part of the decision-making process of the Israeli public. Once the problem was identified, the dam broke and a solution was found to a problem considered by a majority of the public.”

Rosenblum said “the fact that over half of the public would positively consider freezing their sperm or ova for posthumous use indicates a revolutionary trend and a breakthrough in Israeli society in particular and the world in general. This new trend indicates that the right to family does not end with death but continues on. This is a liberal and innovative approach that allows family members to carry out their loved one’s will.”

More women support the posthumous use of reproductive material than men, the survey showed. Also in favor were 60% of the secular public, 59% of people aged 18 to 34, and 57% of those with a college education. Even 31% of haredim expressed willingness to store their genetic material in life-threatening situations.

On April 10, New Family won a precedent-setting court ruling approving the biological will of a veteran of an IDF combat unit. In November 2008, days before his death, Baruch Posniansky signed a biological will addressed to his parents in which he asked that they use the sperm he stored at a sperm bank to conceive a child after his death. He further instructed his parents to find a woman who would bear and raise the child as her own. This will be the world’s first such document to be carried out, Rosenblum said.

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