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Ukraine MPs vote to permit use of dead soldiers' sperm

By AFP

February 7, 2024 08:46 PM


 

Ukrainian MPs on Wednesday backed measures to allow soldiers' frozen sperm to be used if they are killed on the front, after an earlier law ordering its disposal triggered uproar.

As deaths mount among Ukraine's young men fighting in the two-year war against Russia, and with further military call-ups being mulled, the nation's fertility policies have been in the spotlight.

Lawmakers in Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada voted Wednesday for a package of amendments to enable the partners of dead soldiers to use frozen reproductive material posthumously.

The measures alter a December law which mandated that the state start paying for the storage of soldiers' sperm and eggs from 2025.

But after that law was approved, medical lawyer Olena Babych penned a widely read Facebook post highlighting that it also called for the disposal of samples taken from donors who subsequently die.

That triggered a storm of criticism.

MPs and the health ministry vowed to change it before the law was due to come into force next month.

A total of 264 MPs backed Wednesday's amendments that also ensure samples are kept for free for three years after a donor dies, with the option of paid storage thereafter.

None voted against the measures, which were backed by the health ministry.

The authors said the changes would help "preserve the gene pool of the Ukrainian people, which is particularly urgent amid continuing Russian aggression".

Medical lawyer Alla Tsymanovska told AFP earlier this week that more adjustments were needed to make the law effective.

It "is the right of every person to continue their own family", she said, pointing to the example of Israel, which permits the posthumous extraction of sperm from dead soldiers.

Under Ukraine's current Civil Code, powers of attorney signed by donors allowing a partner to use their biological material become invalid when the signatory dies, she said.

Children conceived using the sperm or egg of a dead donor are also not entitled to be the legal heir of the deceased parent at the moment.

The amendments passed Wednesday call for ministers to change Ukraine's Civil Code and Family Code within three months to remove those obstacles.

They also call for ministers to give soldiers the right to decide what happens to their reproductive material if they die, and to be recognised as the legal parent of any children born as a result.


AFP


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