An Israel woman has filed a petition at the Supreme Court against the Health Ministry in an attempt to regain access to five units of sperm from a man who now regrets his donation.
The woman, whose name has not been revealed, is the mother of a two-year-old daughter who was conceived artificially using the donor’s sperm.
In order to provide her child with a biologically related sibling, the woman acquired five further units of the same donor’s semen from a sperm bank.
The donor, whose name also remains protected, claims that a recent religious epiphany made him wish he had never donated.
Israel is a global centre for assisted births, including artificial insemination. Sperm donors can expect to earn between £50 to £130 per donation, and in exchange, are guaranteed absolute, lifelong anonymity.
A mother is prohibited from attempting to identify or contact a possible sperm donor, even in the case of a life-threatening disease resulting from a sperm donation.
The current case seems to be without precedent. The mother was preparing for a new insemination when the donor requested that the sperm bank destroy his donations, including those purchased by the woman now embroiled in this case.
A committee established by the Health Ministry decided in the donor’s favour, and the mother has petitioned the High Court which, for now, has ruled that the donation must not be destroyed.
A prominent physician in the field of assisted birth, who directs one of Israel’s top-ranked sperm banks, said of the donor: “He signed a contract, he sold his sperm and he was paid for it. In my opinion, it is no longer his property.
“The fact that he now regrets it is a pity, but he got his payment and if you ask me, the situation is clear. He can’t now go back on his decision.”