Sperm Smugglers Score a Victory in Gaza

Pic:  Mariana Ruiz Villarreal (CC)

Pic: Mariana Ruiz Villarreal (CC)

Fares Akram writes at Al Jazeera English:

When the Israeli army arrested Palestinian Tamer al-Zaanin a month and a half after his marriage in 2006, his wife, Hana, was still studying Sharia at the Islamic University in Gaza City.

Her husband had been sentenced to 12 years in prison on charges of being an operative with Islamic Jihad. Having plenty of time with no children, Hana enrolled again in the same university after graduating; this time she is majoring in math.

But she won’t have nearly as much free time in the coming years. Last week, she gave birth to a baby boy, Hassan, through in-vitro fertilisation, marking the first case in Gaza in which a prisoner managed to impregnate his wife with sperm smuggled out of prison, following six successful births in recent years in the West Bank.

“I can’t describe how happy I am,” said the 26-year-old mother from behind a black veil. “It’s an indescribable feeling that seven years on since my husband was arrested, I gave birth from a smuggled sperm,” she added as women and relatives sat around her bed in the family hometown of Beit Hanoun.

“Sperm smuggling from inside the jails constitutes a challenge to the Israeli jailer,” said Fouad al-Khafsh of the Ahrar Centre of Prisoners’ Studies. Khafsh told Al Jazeera that dozens of prisoners, especially those serving long or life sentences, try to have children using in-vitro fertilisation.

While surfing the Internet, Hana Zaanin read about the first successful birth of a baby with sperm from a prisoner from Nablus. She admired the idea and decided to propose it to her husband.

“I spent weeks thinking of it and considering my family’s reaction,” she told Al Jazeera. “Most importantly, I did not know how Tamer, my husband, will receive my suggestion … I did not know if he will be happy or mad at me.”

Tamer, who was arrested along with two cousins in a raid at their home, is scheduled to complete his prison term in 2016. “I was encouraged to tell him after my family and Tamer’s father accepted the idea,” Hana said. “At the end of the day, the matter was up to him to agree or reject.”

Last year, Hana was allowed to visit her husband for the first time since his arrest. At the prison, she summoned up the courage to inform Tamer of the idea. “My heart sank when he paused for a few seconds, but I was relieved when I saw his smile behind the glass board separating us,” she recalled. To her surprise, Tamer nodded in agreement. “Moreover, he had also thought of telling me but was afraid of my reaction.”

But a series of challenges soon emerged. How could the semen be taken out of the prison, as Israel doesn’t allow physical contact between the prisoners and their families? And how could the sperm be kept alive for at least six hours, the time needed for families to return to Gaza after the visit?

Read more here.

11 Comments on "Sperm Smugglers Score a Victory in Gaza"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Jan 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm |

    they smuggle in some Islamic porn
    (a girl in a sexy burka with a camel)
    then the guy uses a goat skin wine jug as a receptacle
    the jizz is mixed with coffee and the resulting drink
    is a potent baby maker
    so I surmise

    • InfvoCuernos | Jan 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm |

      Nothing so heinous, just used children as sperm mules, that’s all.

      • Rhoid Rager | Jan 25, 2014 at 5:55 pm |

        They musta learned that from the Catholics. Nuk nuk nuk.

        • InfvoCuernos | Jan 25, 2014 at 6:37 pm |

          underage spunksmugglers? Na, no shortage of that in the Middle East. There’s a saying in the Gulf States: “Women are for babies, boys are for fun”. I guess you can use boys for babies now too.

  2. InfvoCuernos | Jan 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm |

    I am wondering about three things: 1-Its ok for women to go to University in Islam if its an Islamic university? This seems to contridict the information we in the West are told about women’s rights, 2-I’m pretty sure that even if no.1 is ok, surfing the internet looking up sperm swapping isn’t. and 3-If its such a great victory against your Israeli oppressors, then why did you wreck it for everyone else by explaining it in detail to the media? Wouldn’t it be a bigger victory if you had 20 or 50 or 100 babies instead of 6? This smells like all kinds of Bullshit propaganda.

    • kowalityjesus | Jan 26, 2014 at 11:49 pm |

      I don’t know which propaganda machine would generate this story, it certainly has a lot of taboo at least for Muslims. I think the “6 babies” were just other successful in-vitro fertilizations, and this is the only from a prisoner. As for misconceptions in the West about Islam, they abound for MANY reasons (a good portion of which are because the religion has been so narrowly realized by its followers for so long ihmo), even among the conscientious and well-informed like you and I. I found this video very informative, if not downright enlightening! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyzDG8kbsmA

  3. Boring conversation anyway | Jan 26, 2014 at 7:56 pm |

    Couldn’t it be, like, anybody’s sperm?

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