Posthumous Reproduction (PHR) in Israel: Policy Rationales Versus Lay People’s Concerns, a Preliminary Study

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16 Scopus citations


Israeli policy concerning PHR has been decided upon in an expertocratic manner, leaving the voice of the public unheard. Based on 26 semi-structured in-depth interviews with 13 Jewish-Israeli young couples, this preliminary study provides the first empirical data regarding lay attitudes toward PHR in Israel. Findings suggest major dissimilarities between the policy and lay people’s wishes and rationales. While policy is built on the “presumed wish” assumption, supposing all men living in a loving relationship wish to have their partner carry their child post-mortem, this was empirically unsupported. However, the findings suggest that many interviewees were willing to defer to their surviving spouse’s wishes to have their post-mortem child, sometimes even against their own wish, indicating a support for presumed consent. Respecting the wishes of the dead, a dominant argument in the bioethical discussion in Israel and beyond, was mainly irrelevant to informants, whereas interviewees considered the future child’s welfare, a concern overlooked by Israeli policy. Likewise, while posthumous grandparenthood is on the rise in Israel, it clearly contradicts the wishes of the majority of this study’s informants. Nonetheless, existing policy is not expected to raise any opposition, due to the extreme liberalism of the participants and their support of reproductive autonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-650
Number of pages17
JournalCulture, Medicine and Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Informed wish/consent of the deceased
  • Israel
  • Policy
  • Posthumous grandparenthood
  • Posthumous reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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