Sperm should be added to the list of human tissue that can be donated after death, argue ethicists writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
The authors say voluntary non-directed post-mortem sperm donation offers a potential means of increasing the quantity and heterogeneity of donor sperm, which is pertinent given the present shortage of donor sperm in the UK.
Dr Nathan Hodson from the University of Leicester and Dr Joshua Parker from Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester say voluntary non-directed post-mortem sperm donation is “technically feasible” and “ethically permissible.”
“If it is morally acceptable that individuals can donate their tissues to relieve the suffering of others in ‘life-enhancing transplants’ for diseases, we see no reason this cannot be extended to other forms of suffering like infertility, which may or may not also be considered a disease,” they write.
The authors acknowledge that although this is a promising alternative method of obtaining donor sperm, several questions remain. Some of these questions parallel ongoing debates in organ donation, but the use of donated reproductive material raises specific questions and alters the nature of questions about consent and the family veto.