Israeli soldier inquires about freezing sperm ‘in case I don’t come back’

Last month, the Knesset advanced legislation that would allow the families of fallen soldiers to harvest sperm from fallen soldiers within 72 hours of death.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Israeli security personnel have been working on an especially high level of alert dealing with Palestinian threats during the Islamic month of Ramadan and operating in the Jenin area.

The prospect of being at the forefront of clashes and arrest raids prompted one soldier from an elite IDF unit to ask about freezing his sperm “in case I don’t come back,” Israel Hayom reported.

The soldier’s name and unit could not be released for security reasons. But according to Israel Hayom, he reached out to Rabbi Baruch Efrati, a religious Zionist rabbi who heads the organization Derech Emunah.

Last month, the Knesset advanced legislation that would allow the families of fallen soldiers to harvest sperm from fallen soldiers within 72 hours of death and task the IDF with managing a registry of consenting soldiers.

The legislation also outlines the guidelines and restrictions on who can use the sperm. It also specifies that the children born from this arrangement would not be eligible for benefits ordinarily provided to the orphans of fallen soldiers.

Sperm frozen at very low temperatures in liquid nitrogen can be preserved for years before being thawed and used to fertilize an egg in vitro or through artificial insemination.

The soldier who contacted Rabbi Efrati wrote that he is married and that his unit is being deployed to Judea and Samaria. The date was redacted from Israel Hayom.

“On … my wife is supposed to go to the mikveh, and it doesn’t look like I’ll get leave. Should I freeze my sperm (in case, God forbid…)” the soldier asked.

Rabbi Efrati offered encouragement to the soldier and told him it wasn’t necessary, adding that freezing sperm ahead of time would be be bad for morale.

“God will protect you as you go and return. You have the privilege of fighting for the people of Israel and the Land of Israel,” Rabbi Efrati responded.

“Don’t freeze your sperm. We cannot assume that you will be wounded in battle, heaven forbid, and thereby hurt your morale,” Efrati assured the soldier.

“This is one of the reasons why, when the state was first founded, [religious Zionist] Rabbi Shlomo Goren cancelled the military tradition from the House of David of [soldiers] granting decrees of divorce to their wives prior to going to war.

“There were some who disagreed because of the fear of a woman being unable to marry if the husbands were to disappear [and not be confirmed dead], but there is certainly no need to freeze sperm in advance,” Efrati said.