Seeking a Biological Grandchild in the Most Unusual of Ways

There’s a fascinating new article on Tablet about an Israeli couple seeking legal permission to use the posthumously extracted sperm of their son to produce a biological grandchild. The article, by columnist Michelle Goldberg, is a thorough look at the intersection of reproductive technology, reproductive ethics and the changes in cultural values and Israel’s legal system.

The story centers on what remains of Ohad Ben-Yaakov, who was not married and not in a relationship when a work accident left him in a coma that would ultimately claim his life at age 27. “If we were entitled to donate the organs of our son why are we not entitled to make use of his sperm in order to bring offspring to the world?” Ben-Yaakov’s parents, Mali and Dudi Ben-Yaakov, ask in a Haaretz article cited by Goldberg.

The Ben-Yaakovs donated Ohad’s organs. But bringing a new life into the world is different than sustaining existing endangered ones, of course. And using a dead son’s sperm in the absence of any instruction from him is different than doing so with his consent

The Tablet article continues:

As Goldberg notes:

Israel issued guidelines relating to posthumous parenthood in 2003; these guidelines allow a dead man’s spouse to use his sperm, unless the man had specified otherwise. As its legal authorities figure out how far it should now take the possibility, the intricacies of the myriad legal, ethical and medical considerations are positively Talmudic.

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Seeking a Biological Grandchild in the Most Unusual of Ways

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