Ethical and practical considerations concerning perimortem sperm procurement in a severe neurologically damaged patient and the apparent discrepancy in validation of proxy consent in various postmortem procedures

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Although sperm procurement and preservation has been become commonplace in situations in which infertility can be easily foreseen, peri- or postmortem sperm procurement for reproductive use in unexpected coma or death is not generally accepted. There are no laws and regulations for this kind of intervention in all countries and they may also differ from country to country. Intensive care specialists can be confronted with a request for peri- or postmortem sperm procurement, while not being aware of the country-specific provisions. A young male patient who suffered 17 L blood loss and half an hour of cardiopulmonary resuscitation was admitted to a university hospital for an ill-understood unstoppable abdominal bleed. After rapid deterioration of the neurological situation, due to severe post-anoxic damage, the decision was made to withdraw life-sustaining treatment. At that moment the partner of the patient asked for perimortem sperm procurement, which was denied, on the basis of the ethical reasoning that consent of the m Guidelines and laws for peri- or postmortem sperm procurement differ from country to country, so any intensive care specialist should have knowledge from the latest legislation for this specific subject in his/her country. An overview is provided. A decision based on ethical reasoning may appear satisfying, but can unfortunately be in full contrast with the existing laws.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1069-1073
Number of pages5
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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