In the United States, some requests for sperm retrieval have been approved under the rules that govern organ donation. The Universal Anatomical Gift Act of 2006 allowed next of kin to consent to the retrieval of organs and tissues unless there is evidence that the deceased would not have consented. In 2006, a judge ruled that the anatomical gift, including the gift of sperm, can be retrieved at the consent of the donor's parents, as long as the donor did not explicitly refuse to donate.
In a new analysis of nine American institutions that do have guidelines for PMSR, researchers at Stanford University identified elements of a working protocol that other institutions could use to devise their own guidelines. These elements aim to standardize issues such as what constitutes evidence of consent, and who is eligible to make the request. The article will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility.
In the Stanford study, 60 percent of institutions that the researchers contacted said they did not have a PMSR protocol. Lipshultz said this shows that, nationally, institutions that may be called on to retrieve sperm from deceased men may be vulnerable to liability.
Researchers say that regardless of the details of any protocol, the ultimate goal is to establish policies that respect the wishes of the deceased and that are in the best interest of the family and the future child.
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