Israel’s Health Ministry has smoothed bureaucratic channels and offered special services to help recover sperm from Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed in the war against Hamas.
Doctors have performed an operation called sperm preservation on 33 men slain since Oct. 7, the day of the Hamas invasion.
The procedure normally requires a court order.
“Early in the war, the Health Ministry’s legal adviser handed down a temporary order lifting the need for court approval. The order has been extended a number of times and is now in force through the end of November,” Haaretz reported on Thursday.
The Health Ministry also provides a special ambulance service to speed the bodies of those killed from a military base to one of four hospitals: Ichilov (Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center), Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in Ramat Gan, Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah and Shamir Medical Center (formerly Assaf Harofeh Medical Center) in Be’er Ya’akov.
“The faster we do it, the greater the chance of finding motile sperm. The best chance for sperm preservation is within 24 hours of death, and there are differences between the first half of the day and the second,” Dr. Talia Geva, head of the Health Ministry’s Fertility and Childbirth Department, told the paper.
“We’ve learned from both the medical literature and experience that it’s impossible to retrieve live sperm from a dead man after 72 hours,” she said.
The government informs families about sperm preservation when it tells them their son has been killed.
Dr. Etti Samama, head of the Medical Technology Policy Division at the Health Ministry, said: “The teams visiting the families tell them about this while exercising discretion, knowing that not all families are aware of this option. If a family delays it by two days, it’s too late.”
There’s been a change from the past, she added. “There’s a different attitude about fertility preservation and a greater openness regarding various issues of the family unit.”