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Fatwa council approves artificial insemination for prisoners' wives

April 24, 2013 4:08 P.M. (Updated: April 26, 2013 12:48 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council on Wednesday approved artificial insemination for the wives of Palestinians in Israeli jails.

The Razan Medical Center for Infertility, which has clinics in Ramallah and Nablus, has offered free insemination treatment to the wives of political prisoners who manage to smuggle sperm out of Israeli jails.

In February, the clinic announced that four prisoners' wives were pregnant as a result of artificial insemination.

The clinic's director-general, Salim Abu al-Khayzaran, explained the insemination process to the Fatwa council, which issued a decision approving the treatment on Wednesday.

The council set over a dozen conditions to make the process religiously acceptable.

The couple must be married, and the pregnancy must be agreed by both partners and preferably their families, the council ruled. Several of the couple's next-of-kin relatives must witness the insemination, and the process must be made public.

The council also ruled that artificial insemination must be the only possible option for pregnancy. It said the couple must have consummated their marriage, ruling out marriages entered into in prison, as unconsummated marriages are considered engagements.

It must be the prisoner's first child to qualify as an emergency, and the detainee must be serving a long sentence which would prohibit childbearing upon his release.

The council ruled that the treatment must be carried out at a licensed medical center and by female doctors if they are available. Any sperm left over after the insemination must be destroyed.

In February, the Razan center announced four successful pregnancies as a huge achievement that followed many unsuccessful attempts.

"We don’t intervene and ask how they smuggled sperm from prison and get it to Nablus. There are many failed attempts because the sperm die and so prisoners have to keep trying until it works," Dr Salim Abu Khaizaran said.

"We believe that this is a human right especially as these prisoners are spending long sentences in prisons and a woman's biological clock is short so maybe when her husband comes out she won't be able to have a child."
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