April 13, 2024

Ukraine legalizes post-mortem sperm donation 

Ukraine’s parliament has approved a law which permits the frozen sperm of soldiers to be used if they are killed in action. An earlier law decreed that it should be discarded. 

With a rising death toll amongst Ukraine’s young men in the war with Russia, a dismal fertility rate, and millions of emigrants, demographics is a very live issue.

A law passed in December law said that the government should pay for the storage of soldiers’ sperm and eggs from 2025. But then people realised that it had also ordered samples taken from deceased soldiers to be disposed of. 

The amended law now specifies that sperm samples should be kept for three years after death, with an option for paid storage thereafter. The measures passed unanimously; the health ministry also supports it. 

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 that it “is the right of every person to continue their own family”. She pointed out that Israel allows posthumous extraction of sperm from dead soldiers.

More adjustments to the Civil Code will be needed, according to AFP. At present, powers of attorney signed by donors allowing a partner to use their biological material become invalid when the signatory dies. As well, children conceived using the sperm or egg of a dead donor are also not entitled to be the legal heirs of the deceased parent.