07 September 2004

--- Would You do It?

If your husband dies before his time because of an unexpected illness or accident and you both have no children yet, would you request your attending physician for a post-mortem sperm retrieval so you can have an in-vitro fertilization later in your attempt to have a kid or kids?

The idea of post-mortem sperm retrieval might still seem foreign to most couples here in the Philippines, but this procedure has been performed many times during the last several years in most western countries. The wife is usually the requesting party. The main reason has always something to do with getting pregnant with a baby that the deceased husband would probably agree having if he had continued to live.

Of course, the main obstacle to a procedure like this will be bioetical issues. Guidelines, the pros and the cons, and other debates have been outlined and published through several medical journals over the years. One good article I like particularly is this one where they discuss the critical factors affecting the decision like: who has the right to decide, would the man concerned probably approve, technical/medical limitations, and the important waiting period.

The New York Times recently carried an article on this subject. Excerpts:
"Ms. Nebel-Taylor had learned about the technique inadvertently. One morning in late 1994, she and her husband, John Taylor, watched a news report about a woman who had requested the sperm of her murdered husband. Offhandedly, Ms. Nebel-Taylor asked her husband, who was then healthy, what she should do if ever confronted with such a situation. 'If it's really tragic,' he told her, 'go for it.'" [Full article here]
Heaven forbid that this same case happens to you, will you also go for it?

I think it is one great method of ensuring that your legacy lives on.

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