Monday, July 02, 2007

Cold Comfort: necro-paternity for fallen IDF warriors

With no sign of peace in the Middle East, some 150 Israeli soldiers and reservists have petitioned to put their sperm on ice so that, should they be killed or gravely injured in battle, the family line won't die off. Most pledge the frozen samples to their wives or girlfriends, but single fighters can sign living wills, giving ownership of their bodily fluid samples to their own parents and instructing them to find a volunteer surrogate willing to breed a grandchild.

As a parting present for a soldiers's sweetheart, it's rather Brave New World: a gift that keeps on giving. Not a war bond, exactly, but a pre-war deposit frozen in a sperm bank to ensure future generations will come into being. A potent popsicle for mama.

One IDF soldier, determined that his wife should be able to give birth to their child even if he does not survive a war, inquired privately into proxy insemination. "It costs NIS 2,000 (about $470) for the initial procedure and another NIS 700 ($165) a year to preserve the sperm," he told the press. "We have no idea what's going to happen and I want to make sure I can have children." During last summer's Lebanon War, about 100 soldiers asked that their sperm be preserved before battle.

Attorney Irit Rosenblum now urges the creation of a special national sperm bank for IDF soldiers:

Every man joining the IDF would be able to donate sperm, which would be kept until the donor is 45.

Because radical Islamists have vowed to annhilate the Jewish people in Israel, the idea of manipulating life after death seems comparatively less ghoulish here. Under these dire circumstances, a nuclear-proof bunker would be advisable for the army's genetic freezer.
Meanwhile, researchers at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem have developed the technology to extract and freeze the eggs of girls as young as five. They successfully produced the changes of puberty in the lab. Frozen ovum can be matured in the lab and defrosted years later and grow successfully into a so-called "test tube baby"; more than 100 people have been born from defrosted eggs since the mid-1980s. Presumably, IDF servicwomen would eventually be offered the same opportunities to put their future on ice as male soldiers, since they all face fatal risks on duty.

In January, a judge ruled for Ms Rosenblum's client, Rachel Cohen, and allowed her to be Israel's first test tube granny. See Seminal Decision on Israelity Bites
Even without the express permission of her dead son, Keivin, the grief stricken middleaged mother insisted after a vivid dream that doctors carry out a post-mortem extraction of his sperm. After her scheme to become a grandmother gained nationwide publicity, 50 patriotic women clamoured to be the one to carry this child.

It's a chilling trend, indeed. Izzy Bee is old fashioned enough to recall when we made love instead of war.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so now you can say that some of these IDF guys literally are wankers.
And what does the Torah say about conceiving a child in such a way?