The Delhi high court has sought the Centre’s response on an elderly couples plea for the release of the frozen semen sample of their deceased son. The petitioners’ son succumbed to cancer in September two years ago. However, the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital – where the deceased underwent treatment – had told the court in February this year that there is no law or legal proceedings in the country to release frozen samples of the semen of an unmarried male to his legal heirs.
Justice Yashwant Varma impleaded the Central government as a party in a plea moved by the deceased’s parents last year seeking a direction for the handover of their son’s frozen semen sample to them by the hospital.
Following the demise of their son, they are the sole claimants of his remaining bodily assets, and the hospital’s action of denying them access to the semen sample seems to be violative of their rights.
Issuing notice to the Centre, the court has listed the matter for further hearing in January 2023, after observing that its ruling could have an impact on the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act 2021.
While the deceased was undergoing treatment, the doctors at the hospital informed them that the treatment of cancer may lead to infertility. Therefore, he decided to preserve his sperm in an IVF lab at the hospital in June 2020. In order to carry on their son’s legacy, the couple approached the hospital asking for the release of their son’s sperm. However, the hospital refused stating that there is no clear direction from the state in this regard.