Israeli Lawmakers Advance Bill Allowing Fallen Soldiers' Families to Use Their Sperm

Legislation would allow partner or parents of the deceased soldier to have his sperm harvested within three days of his death

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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The sperm bank at Assuta Medical Center, Tel Aviv.
The sperm bank at Assuta Medical Center, Tel Aviv.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

The Knesset on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to allowing families of fallen soldiers to use their sperm to make babies.

The bill, submitted by MK Zvi Hauser (New Hope), passed by a 53-2 margin along with two similar bills by MK Idit Silman (Yamina) and May Golan (Likud). The government agreed early this week that the bills would be debated in the Labor and Social Affairs Committee and pass the preliminary vote. Afterward, the bills will be merged into one.

According to the bill, the partner or parents of the fallen soldier will be eligible to ask to harvest sperm from his body within 72 hours of his death. Additionally, the army will manage a registry of written consent by soldiers for the use of their sperm, according to rules the defense minister will set.

A soldier’s spouse will be permitted to get impregnated by his sperm, on condition that the soldier didn’t object in writing. Likewise, if a soldier has no partner, the parents are authorized to ask a court to be able to use the sperm to impregnate a willing woman.

The bill also outlines restrictions. The parents won’t be allowed to make use of their deceased son’s sperm with more than one woman. Likewise, a child born according to this law will be the son of the mother in every regard. She will be the child’s sole guardian. Moreover, a child born using the deceased soldier’s sperm will not be considered an army orphan.

The bill’s preamble states: “Israel is well versed in the pain of loss. It has lost its best sons and daughters who fell in defense of state security. The lives of young soldiers were nipped in the bud, and Israel has a moral debt to them and to the grieving families who lost their dear one.”

This law also dovetails with the debt of society to honor the wish of the deceased to have a child to carry on after their death, according to the preamble. Similar bills have been submitted without getting this far.

The bills were formulated with the assistance of the Or Lamishpachot association. Families of fallen soldiers attended the vote – Baruch Ben Yigal, father of Amit Ben Yigal, who was killed by a stone that hit him in the head during a military operation; Nitza Shmueli, mother of Barel Hadaria Shmueli, who was killed by a sniper on the Gaza border; and Bat El Weizman, sister of Shaul Weizman, who was killed in a motorcycle accident.

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