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Sperm retrieval from terminally ill or recently deceased patients - a review
University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Jun 2009 (Vol. 16, Issue 3, Pages( 4627 - 4631)
PMID: 19497168


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  • Objective: Requests for sperm extraction in terminally ill or recently deceased patients have been increasing with the gained acceptance and success of assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. This review aims to outline the many challenges associated with these requests. Materials and methods: The medical literature surrounding ethical and legal issues of posthumous sperm extraction was examined. Results: Several issues within the field of sperm extraction in the terminally ill patient and the postmortem patient still arouse a significant amount of debate and controversy. One controversial factor surrounds the issue of consent for the tissue extraction and determining when family consent is valid. Other discussions have involved ethical issues, logistics (including cost), and legal issues. Conclusions: A medical center protocol governing sperm extraction from terminally ill or recently deceased patients would be beneficial, and would likely alleviate stress among the patients' families and healthcare providers. To overcome some of the difficulties surrounding the issue of consent, it might also be valuable for men about to get married or enter into a similar relationship to document their wishes for sperm retrieval should a tragic situation arise. This could be done in the same way that they would prepare a living will.

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