By Anjan Roy
Like the proverbial sphinx, life is springing afresh from the destruction of October 7 when scores of young people were killed by|1militants|1of Hamas in the Israeli kibbutz and a musical concert.
Unbelievable as it is, but Israeli doctors have been busy extracting sperm from the dead and making arrangements for recreating life. The sperm are being collected from dead males, often as young as 23, 24, 25, who died in the musical concert venue and their sperms are being preserved for future use.
Maybe, there is a lesson in this for India. We also could consider setting up sperm preservation centres for the soldiers who died in action. These can then be used to recreate life again. The bereaved families, the parents, could then find their loved child once again spring back to life in the next generation.
Grotesque as it may sound initially, this might be some solace for the affected families of young soldiers who die in the prime of life. It is happening in India’s borders. It is happening in Jammu and Kashmir where soldiers from different parts of the country are serving. Indian armed services are undergoing refurbishment and huge upgradation currently. Maybe, such services could be part of the upgradation and modernization programme.|1
A lady doctor is taking the major initiative in this effort and she had described her encounters with the parents of these young dead, as reported in the international news outlet CNN. Medical social workers, Professor Sir Daphna-Tekoah, has described her experience to CNN.
She recalled her meetings with the parents of these young victims of the Hamas terrorist attacks and spoke of the sheer trauma and hopelessness. However, when she enquired whether she could consider extraction and preservation of sperms from the dead, she saw a transformation in the expression among the bereaved.
“Before, there was only agony and darkness in the mother’s eyes and suddenly there was a flicker of light and hope.”
However, sperm collection and preservation has very strict limits. It could be done only within a window of 72 hours after death. Practically, this had to be within the first 44 to 45 hours. That is not a lot of time in these circumstances of terror attacks and medical procedures.
Nonetheless, these are being pursued with alacrity among Israeli doctors by waiving all red tape and necessary permissions and formalities. Normally, such procedures could be undertaken only after some very strict compliance and approval by hospital authorities.
All these formalities have been now waived to allow speedy recovery of sperms from the dead. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) now routinely suggests and offers posthumous sperm retrieval (PSR) while informing the parents of any death.
The demand for PSR has shot up since the October 7 incident and the procedure has been done in case of the young victims of the musical concert|1on request from the parents. Since then, in other cases as well the demands are flowing in.
At the same time, in many cases despite every effort, the procedures could not be completed or even when done the sperms have not been such as fit for further medical use. This is because the way the bodies have been kept post death, the kind of accident or cause of death and a variety of other factors determine to what extent the extracted sperms could be used later.
The practice has been followed in Israel previously as well. Even on earlier occasions of conflicts in Gaza, some of the dead soldiers’ sperms have been collected and preserved.
Even after extraction and proper preservation, the surviving relatives and parents have to be find a suitable recipient. For the very young, who are unmarried and have no partner, finding a suitable woman to receive is no easy job.
But then, there are happy cases when single women have accepted the sperm and the children have filled in a lot of the void for the grandparents. It is almost getting back their lost child, some of the parents observed at an interview with the CNN.
In one case, when a young man died at the age of 25, his sperm was preserved and subsequently received by a single woman. The child, a girl, is now seven years old and bears uncanny resemblance to the father.
The grandparents are active with the child and are effusive about her. Life has tuned meaningful once again and looking into the eyes of the granddaughter gives them their own son. Hope could spring eternal even in the midst of the ravages of war. (IPA Service)