Juridical and Halachic Aspects of Postmortem Sperm Procurement
Ya'akov Ariel, Moshe Vermout, Pnina Abramovitz-Shneider, Avinoam Shuper
Institute of Halachic and Ethical Aspects of Medicine, Ramat Gan
The ability to fertilize human ova with sperm retrieved soon after death has been utilized in Israel and in other countries. However, postmortem sperm procurement (PMSP) has significant Halachic, juridical and ethical implications with regard to both the action of sperm and its implications for mother and offspring. In specific situations, and with reliable supervision aimed at preventing sperm interchange, Halacha may allow the procedure, while the juridical approach in such a situation is not as yet well established.
As for Halacha, even if a son is born, the widowed mother will still be obligated by the Halacha of yibum (marrying the deceased husband's brother). The child's rights as heir, aspects of implications for its future life, or even social aspects of PMSP, all are factors to be seriously considered before PMSP is performed, without bias by temporary emotions. Thus, PMSP should be reserved for only very special circumstances, and only after consultation with the appropriate medical, Halachic, juridical and ethical experts.