Advocate Irit Rosenblum: The Ministry of Health is Preventing a Widower from Bringing His Children to the World

The Ministry of Health will not allow a 40-year old widower to actualize his right to parenthood and to execute his deceased wife’s will to bring their children to the world. New Family organization, which is handling the case, asks to respect the widower’s right to parenthood and to carry out his deceased wife’s will.

Unjustified delay and infringements of the right to swift legal process prevent a 40-year old widower from to realize his right to parenthood and his wife’s will to bring their children to the world. N. lost his wife in 2009. N. and his wife were unable to have children. They tried for years to achieve pregnancy and underwent a series of fertility treatments to actualize their dream of becoming parents. His wife eventually got sick with cancer and later died. The fertility treatments the two had completed prior to her illness yielded embryos, which were frozen and stored at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

Several months ago, following the death of the woman, after she had signed the required legal documents ensuring her desire for their embryos to be gestated, even in the event of her death, New Family approached the hospital to obtain the embryos. The embryos were sought in order to use the services of a gestational surrogate mother to bring the embryos to term and to make N. a father.

The clerks at the Ministry of Health initially replied that the necessary procedure is not available in Israel, though agreed that there was no prohibition against giving N. custody of the embryos.  Equipped with positive answers, with the desire to make his and his late wife’s dream into a reality, N. sought out a surrogate mother abroad and paid 100,000 ש”ח . When he asked to retrieve the frozen embryos from the hospital in order to begin the medical procedure, the Ministry of Health retracted its earlier statement that the embryos belonged to him. The Ministry of Health’s sudden unexplained refusal caused N. significant emotional and financial damage. The Ministry of Health’s clerks left N. in limbo, and gave no response to his natural desire to become a parent, even after repeated requests from New Family and from Advocate Irit Rosenblum, who heads it.

‘This is unacceptable discrimination between the right of a man to parenthood and of the right of a woman to parenthood.’ Advocate Irit Rosenblum claims. ‘If, God forbid, the situation was reversed, and there are clear instructions which allow a woman to be inseminated with her husband’s sperm. It’s not clear how the Ministry of Health’s clerks have taken over a person’s body and his embryos, and are keeping from him what belongs to him and in practice, his entire world and dreams’.

To assist N., Advocate Irit Rosenblum wrote a letter to the Legal Advisor to the Government and to the State’s Prosecution’s Office. ‘This case concretizes the intractable problem with entrusting the decisions to one entity within the Health Ministry, which with its silence, obstructs progress and decides the fate of people to have children or not’ , wrote Advocate Irit Rosenblum. ‘Every day that passes will not return Mr. N’s youth, who just wants to be a parent in Israel. People do not have the right to deny other people the right to be a parent to their own flesh and blood.  He does not ask the state to fund any of it, and it has already been determined that he is the sole owner of his own genetic material.’

For details, call Irit Rosenblum at 03 566 0504

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