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Health Ministry told to explain why fecund sperm donor blackballed

The Supreme Court wants to know why Israel is rejecting the seed of American Ari Nagel, who has sired at least 33 children with his free donations

Ari Nagel visits the Tel Aviv port, June 27, 2017. (Renee Ghert-Zand/TOI)
Ari Nagel visits the Tel Aviv port, June 27, 2017. (Renee Ghert-Zand/TOI)

Israel’s Supreme Court has ordered the Health Ministry to explain why it will not allow an Israeli woman to undergo in vitro fertilization using the sperm of a Jewish Brooklyn mathematics professor.

Ari Nagel has fathered at least 33 children in the last decade with sperm he donates free of charge. The married father of three has previously donated his sperm to six Israeli women, but they have not been allowed to use it.

In December, a seventh Israeli woman, 43, asked a private clinic to allow her to use frozen sperm sent to Israel from Nagel. The clinic said it could neither store nor use his sperm because it would violate Health Ministry requirements and Israeli law.

The woman and Nagel challenged the refusal in the Supreme Court.

Sperm donation in Israel is anonymous unless the male donor signs documents saying he will co-parent with the mother. The Health Ministry has said “the claim of an intention to perform true joint parenthood with Mr. Nagel is not sincere or reasonable” based on the sheer number of children he has sired with his donated sperm.

The court has asked Nagel to submit a detailed affidavit within 30 days showing with supporting documents that he has satisfied the Health Ministry requirements. He must provide details on “his status and that of his wife from his marriage and his children with her,” as well as information regarding his “parental commitment,” Haaretz reported.

In an interview two years ago with the New York Post, Nagel said he typically produced the sperm in a men’s restroom and gave it to the woman in a cup to insert in the women’s restroom. He also told the newspaper that his relationship with his wife has not been romantic in years and that they sleep in separate bedrooms.

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