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AFP
April 8, 2021

Palestinians fathering children from inside prison

World

AFP
April 8, 2021

KHAN YUNIS, Territoires palestiniens: Cradling her newborn son in a thick white blanket on the patio of her Gaza home, Iman al-Qudra knows it will be years before her baby boy, Mujahid, meets his father.

Her husband Mohammed al-Qudra has been imprisoned in Israel since 2014, and for Iman to get pregnant his sperm had to be smuggled out of jail to be used in an in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) programme.

Iman is one of several Palestinian women in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank who in recent years have turned to IVF using sperm from an imprisoned husband. It is a complex endeavour -- Israeli prison officials voiced doubt it was even possible -- and success is not guaranteed.

For the Qudras, another Palestinian, who was being freed from the same prison in southern Israel where Mohammad is held, had to first agree to smuggle out the semen on the day of his release.

He then had to swiftly get it past the Gaza Strip crossing, tightly controlled by Israel. Next came Iman’s IVF treatment, and then an anxious wait to see if it had worked. A specialist in reproductive health at the University Hospital of Toulouse (CHU), Louis Bujan, told AFP it was "plausible" for sperm to remain viable during such a journey, regardless of refrigeration conditions.