In an unusual request to AIIMS, a widow requested the hospital to retrieve her dead husband's sperm so that she could have their baby. The couple had been married for only a couple of years.
One of the doctors said, "The parents of the man were also willing and supported her request." However, the request was turned down as there are no clear guidelines on postmortem sperm retrieval (PMSR) in the country, it has been reported.
"Time has come to have guidelines about the procedures to collect sperm posthumously, to preserve them and to effectively use them with maximum benefits to the individual as well as society," TOI quoted the doctors as saying.
According to Dr Sudhir Gupta, head of AIIMS's forensic sciences department, sperm can survive inside the testicular cavity for almost a day after death. "Retrieval is a simple process. It can be done within five minutes by dissecting the testis and extracting the sperm. But there are ethical and legal issues involved," Gupta was quoted as saying.
According to the guidelines, in India, assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinics allow insemination of a woman with a dead husband's semen. However, the sperm must be collected while the husband is alive and in sound mind.
In a 2006 article in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, leading forensic experts Rajesh V Bardale and P G Dixit had predicted a possible rise in demand for PRSM. However, it was further argued that any decision on was more complex in India than in developed countries.
"It might be a difficult time for a widow to make a rational decision. Pressure from the family may complicate the situation. The problem is compounded by the time limitation for collecting the sperm, which might require a quick decision," said the doctors.