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.

By
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)

 
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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.”

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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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