Who actually owns sperm donated to a sperm bank – the donor or the woman who paid for the sperm? Can a donor decide to change his mind after receiving payment for his donation? And what is more important, a donor’s right to refuse to be a father against his will, or a women’s right to have children who are biological siblings? The High Court of Justice will have to rule on these complex and sensitive questions in a petition that might affect the lives of thousands of women who use Israeli sperm banks to fulfill their wish to be mothers.
Four sperm vials – enough for eight fertilization treatments – are at the center of a judicial conflict between the donor who wishes to have his sperm donations scrapped and the recipient who purchased the vials and wishes to use them to have several children from the same father. Surprising as it may sound, there are no legal guidelines regarding sperm donations, and the scenario of the donor reneging is not dealt with in forms filled out by the donor and the recipient, nor in the directives of the Health Ministry.