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Grandparents Want Baby With Dead Son's Sperm, Should They?

Posted by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 8:21 PM
  • 8 Replies
Posted by Sasha Brown-Worsham
on March 28, 2011 at 7:37 PM

Israeli Ohad Ben-Yaakov was only 27 when he died at his job. He was not married and he had no baby on the way. He spent two weeks in a coma before succumbing and now, his devastated parents want to make a child with sperm they extracted during that time.

The couple -- Mali and Dudi Ben-Yaakov -- are currently petitioning the Israeli attorney general for the right to impregnate a surrogate of their choosing with their dead son's sperm. Israel has been on the cutting edge of reproductive technology, so it is not surprising that a case like this would come from there, but it is a shocking case.

Just the idea of posthumous childbearing is odd enough, but add in that they would be the grandparents, not even the parent and it starts to feel a little uncomfortably like cloning and like some strange, terrifying sci-fi future. Or like an episode of Private Practice. Take your pick.

But is it ethically right?

It is hard to even begin to imagine what these parents have been through. Losing a child is the worst pain most of us can even conjure and for them, it happened before he'd even had a chance to have his own family. This would allow them the opportunity to see the grandchild they never would have had otherwise. In that sense, it is a miracle of modern reproduction, an opportunity to help people through grief and make them stronger. On the other hand, it leaves a lot of questions.

What were Ohad's wishes? Did he want to be a father? Obviously this case brings a lot to the table. Just what rights do grandparents have? Presumably they will raise this child. I can say unequivocally that if I died, love my father though I do, I would not want him raising my children. If he took my eggs against my will and then made a child, I would consider that a violation of my wishes.

It makes sense that these parents want a piece of their dead son, but there are other ways to help fill that void that don't involve potential violations of a person's right to make their own, private reproductive choices. They could adopt a child and share some of the love that they lost with him or her. They could volunteer with children and help take care of them.

There are many, many ways that they could deal with their grief that do not involve violating their son's right to decide whether he wanted to be a dad.

Still, if they can document his desire to be a dad then it might make sense. If he told other people he wanted to be a father and that it was his wish in life, then fulfilling that desire could be a great gift to their son's legacy. But there is a very fine line and that proof should be established before they make a baby from a person who may not have wanted one.

What do you think it right? What do you think should be done?


by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 8:21 PM
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Replies (1-8):
Bean1980
by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 8:36 PM
Weird, but whatever makes them happy.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Cindy18
by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 8:39 PM

 Yuck! Too creepy for me!!

Nature_girl
by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Strange. But if they want to raise the child, I can see that as only a good thing. Think of all the sperm in sperm banks..not too different. Just a little different reasons, you now have history attached.

shaunadale
by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 9:23 PM

No, the parents extracted the sperm, the son did not. It would be similar to organ donation, you can't do it without consent. It's not right. The son did not okay this. That should be end of story.

singlemomof2nok
by on Mar. 29, 2011 at 10:22 AM

 That is just strange

reche1978
by Bronze Member on Mar. 29, 2011 at 10:25 AM

i think its weird i dont agree

sheri305
by on Mar. 29, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Quoting singlemomof2nok:

 That is just strange


AmyG1976
by on Mar. 29, 2011 at 2:48 PM

 IF the son said he wanted it done before dying then okay IF the son did not then i dont believe they should of extracted his sperm in the first place

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