For the first time in Israel, a court has ruled that the eggs of a deceased woman may be extracted and saved. The decision by the Kfar Sava Family Court this past Sunday was in relation to the case of the late Chen Aida Ayish, a 17-year-old from the Sharon region, who died of severe injuries sustained in a car crash. She was declared brain dead last Wednesday.
Ayish’s family agreed to have her organs harvested for transplant, and requested from the court that the eggs be extracted from her ovaries at the same time. The eggs were frozen, and the court has issued no further decision as to their possible future use.
The family had initially requested that the eggs be fertilized with sperm taken from another dead body, but the court rejected that request. Ayish’s parents have made no specific statement as to why they wanted their daughter’s eggs extracted, but it can be inferred that they may be hoping to produce a grandchild from them at some point.
Although this is the first time that Israeli legal authorities have allowed the extraction of eggs from a dead woman, there have already been cases of sperm being extracted from dead men’s bodies. However, the Attorney General said back in 2003 that sperm could only be extracted for use in impregnating (in utero or in vitro) the deceased’s widow. Parents wishing to save the sperm of a dead son must obtain a special court order.
It is unclear yet what the future of Ayish’s eggs will be. Whether or not they will turn into new life is not known. But through her donated organs, Ayish has saved the lives of four people who are already on this earth.