Absence of Law to release the frozen semen sample of an unmarried dead male to his parents or legal heirs: Delhi HC to Examine

Absence of Law to release the frozen semen sample of an unmarried dead male to his parents or legal heirs: Delhi HC to Examine

The Delhi High Court has issued the notices to the Health Department of Delhi government and the Hospital as there is Absence of Law to release the frozen semen sample of an unmarried dead male to his parents or legal heirs.

Background

The petitioners lost their 30 year old son to cancer in September 2020. When the petitioner’s late son was undergoing treatment in Ganga Ram Hospital, the doctors at the Hospital had informed them that treatment of cancer may lead to infertility. Therefore, the late son decided to preserve his sperm in an IVF lab of the same Hospital in June 2020.

After the death of their son, the petitioners approached the Hospital to release their son’s sperm to them to carry on their son’s legacy but the Hospital refused, stating that there is no clear direction from the State in this regard.

Response of the Hospital 

The High Court had sought a response from the hospital and Delhi government on the petition in December last year.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, in an affidavit filed before the High Court, said that the ART regulations in the central government’s gazette do not specify the procedure of disposal or utilisation of semen samples of an unmarried person who has died.

The hospital’s response came on a petition by a couple seeking directions for the release of the frozen semen sample of their deceased son from a centre at the Ganga Ram Hospital.

According to the hospital, in the absence of any guideline, it was “unable to make final disposal of this frozen sample of the deceased” It informed the court that the sample is “cryopreserved” at its Centre.

“The ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) Act, ICMR guidelines, Surrogacy Bill/Act are silent about the legal heirs of the unmarried deceased men to whom the semen frozen sample of semen to be released,” stated the affidavit filed by Director Medical, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Court’s Observation 

The single bench of Justice V. Kameswar Rao has issued the Notices in the matter to the Health Department of Delhi government and the Hospital in December 2021 and has now post the matter on 13 May 2022.

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