Ukrainian soldiers save sperm as insurance for offspring


Eastern Europe


A Ukrainian battalion member touches his child. Photo AFP, Sergei Supinsky

Ukrainian soldiers are increasingly saving their sperm for their wives in case they die at the front. In this way, receiving children from your dead husband is still possible.

Natalia Kyrkach-Antonenko lived with her husband Vitaly for 18 years before he died at the front in November. The widow is still carrying their unborn child. Still, there is also the possibility that she will receive more children from Vitaly. Before her husband died, Natalia went with him to a notary and reproductive clinic to save his sperm. This reports BBC News Ukraine.

Although her husband is no longer with her, his children might be. Natalia is convinced that the modern world makes it possible to give birth to and raise children of deceased loved ones. "Talk to each other. And if you agree, then go to the reproductive clinic and prepare all the documents in case of the worst," advises the widow.


The Ukrainian BBC contacted several clinics to see if more servicemen had the same ideas as the Kyrkach family. It turned out that every clinic that was contacted is said to have helped at least 10-20 servicemen since the war broke out on February 24th.

According to medical lawyer Olena Babich, the preservation of reproductive material is allowed and also very relevant in Ukraine. "In the war, a man can receive injuries that harm his reproductive functions. But after returning home, he will still be able to father children," she explains to BBC Ukraine. For this, the man must leave a notarised statement stating that his wife or partner can use his biological material for insemination or IVF and under what conditions.

"It's a different story when a man does not have a wife or a woman with whom he lives, but only his parents. A moral and legal conflict arises. In Ukraine, this issue is not settled," says Olena Babich.

The legislation also does not regulate post-mortem reproduction - the use of a person's reproductive cells after his death. "Reproductive material cannot be the subject of a will. Any power of attorney loses its validity from the moment of a person's death. That's why it's a problem," the lawyer explains. Especially in times of war, this should be different, embryologist Olga Malyuta says. As an example, she points to Israel, where it is allowed to use the sperm of soldiers who died. "I would like something in Ukraine to break the deadlock in this matter."



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