Ethical aspects concerning sperm smuggled by Muslim Palestinian ‘security prisoners’ out of Israeli prisons

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Since 2004, Palestinian security prisoners, who are denied conjugal visitations by their wives, have tried to smuggle their sperm out of Israeli prisons, so that their wives can be inseminated in fertility clinics in the West Bank and Ghazza, and bear them children. This IVF procedure has been recently quite successful. From a religious Islamic perspective, the procedure won the approval of the majority of the muftis, while each of them defined certain stipulations for the permissibility of this type of IVF. Apparently, the social aspect of this issue was the hardest to overcome. I discuss in this article the ethical dilemmas related to “smuggled sperm” IVFs, which also fall in the domain of human rights, and especially the rights of prisoners. In the Palestinian society, since security prisoners are viewed as national heroes rather than criminals, the IVF technology is elevated to the level of a “savior” or “miracle worker”, and its success is viewed as a victory (nasr) over the “oppressing Israeli authorities”. Hence, a bioethical technology, which started with an individual's distress, has become a political tool, and a morale booster for the prisoners and their families, and even for their wider respective communities, as first hand testimonies relay.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100531
JournalEthics, Medicine and Public Health
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • FIV
  • Islamic Law
  • IVF
  • Loi islamique
  • Masturbation
  • Palestinians
  • Palestiniens
  • Smuggled sperm
  • Sperme de contrebande

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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