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  1. J Oakley
  1. Correspondence to:
 J Oakley
 Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University, PO Box 11A, Melbourne 3800, Australia;

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Could it ever be ethically justifiable to remove a dead man’s sperm to enable his partner to bear a child to him? If he had clearly indicated his agreement to this in advance, then the posthumous removal of his sperm for this purpose can be ethically justified, particularly in circumstances where the interests of the resulting child can be adequately met. Few dead men would have addressed such a possibility while alive, however, unless they had a specific reason to consider such an issue, perhaps because of a terminal illness. Without a prior indication that removal of his sperm for this purpose would be in accordance with his wishes in such circumstances, the posthumous use of a man’s sperm for procreation is unethical.

Posthumously removing organs and tissue from those who have given prior consent to this is commonly thought ethically acceptable. Indeed, some argue that cadaveric organ donation can be ethically …

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