Life after death: Should dead men become sperm donors?

You can still have children after you die.

You’ll never meet them, of course, but your genetic code can live on in another person, through advancements in reproductive technology.

In some cases, people have their sperm or eggs harvested or frozen, perhaps before a cancer treatment, or as part of fertility treatments. In the event of their death — with prior consent — their partner might use the frozen samples to create a child.

In other, rarer cases, the sperm — for medical reasons — is taken from a man after he’s dead.

This week, the Journal of Medical Ethics published a paper arguing that a man should also be able to indicate that he wishes his sperm to be harvested after his death, and put into a sperm bank for use by anyone, just like he might consent to his organs being donated.

“Not every man who dies has a partner who wants to use their sperm,” said paper author Nathan Hodson, a fellow at Harvard University’s School of Public Health.

“There are lots of people out there who are looking for sperm donors. What we’re proposing is to put the two together.”

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