Birth of healthy twins resulting from donated oocytes and posthumous use of frozen-thawed spermatozoa obtained prior to chemotherapy

Arieh Raziel, Shevach Friedler, Morey Schachter, Deborah Strassburger, Bern Orna, Raphael Ron-El

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The improvement in life expectancy, following better cancer therapy combined with new options in treating male infertility have increased the use of sperm freezing. We describe a rare case of twin pregnancy of a childless widow, using donated oocytes after ICSI with her deceased husband's banked frozen spermatozoa. Sperm was frozen before chemotherapy treatment and a written consent for future thawing and injection to donor oocytes was given. Use of thawed spermatozoa after death was not mentioned in the consent form. During the husband's illness years, ICSI of donated oocytes fertilized with thawed spermatozoa yielded three embryos, but no pregnancy was achieved after ET. While waiting for a subsequent oocyte donation, the male partner died of his malignancy. The woman expressed her wish to be treated with the frozen spermatozoa of her deceased husband. Since the original informed consent did not cover postmortem use of the husband's sperm, a special application for its use was made and subsequently approved by the Israeli Ministry of Health legal advisor. Another six donated oocytes were fertilized with the deceased's thawed spermatozoa, and the transfer of four embryos to the uterine cavity resulted in a twin pregnancy and later delivery of two healthy babies. This case emphasizes the importance of written informed consent signed by patients with a life-threatening disease at the time of banking spermatozoa, and discussing the possibility of its posthumous use. Several legal and ethical concerns are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-384
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Oocyte donation
  • Posthumous reproduction
  • Spermatozoa banking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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