May 15, 2024

Gaza’s IVF embryos have been destroyed by Israeli bombs

One of the many casualties of the war in Gaza has been the embryos and gametes stored at the Al-Basma IVF Centre.An Israeli shell hit the clinic’s five liquid nitrogen tanks, destroying more than 4,000 embryos and a thousand vials of sperm and eggs.

According to a Reuters-commissioned journalist who visited the site recently, the embryology lab is still strewn with broken masonry and blown-up lab supplies along with the ruined liquid nitrogen tanks.

“We know deeply what these 5,000 lives, or potential lives, meant for the parents, either for the future or for the past,” Dr Bahaeldeen Ghalayini, 73, the Cambridge-trained founder of the clinic told AP. 

He doesn’t know whether Israelis targeted the clinic or whether it was hit by chance. In any case, he says: “All these lives were taken away: 5,000 lives with one shell.”

Before the war, there were about nine IVF clinics in Gaza. Most frozen embryos were stored at the Al-Basma IVF Centre.

Like everything else in Gaza, IVF was political. Some centres were associated with Hamas, the terrorist group running Gaza. It supported and subsidized IVF for couples.