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Sperm Smugglers

Sperm Smugglers
From Al Jazeera - November 8, 2017

Filmmaker: Muhammad Mustafa al-Sawaf

"I wish he could be with us now to raise his child and to care for him," says May, the wife of Fahmi Abu Salah, a Palestinian prisoner who is serving a 22-year sentence in an Israeli prison. "It would be the greatest happiness."

May and Fahmi's child, Asaad, was conceived through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) after Fahmi's sperm was smuggled to a clinic in the Gaza Strip. He is one of 32 babies born to the wives of Palestinian prisoners over a three-year span.


Raising babies conceived from sperm smuggled from Israeli prisons is both a source of hope and a form of protest for prisoners, their wives and families.

Rawhi Mushtaha was serving time in an Israeli prison in 2004 when he first had the idea to smuggle his sperm. "I thought the biggest obstacle was to convince our families," he says. "The prisoners themselves were barely convinced, so what about our families? It would not be easy for them to see my wife pregnant while I was held in detention."

Rawhi wrote a letter to his family. By the time of their next visit to him in prison, they had a response: "My father said, 'Why did not you think of this before?' I was shocked." He transferred three sperm samples to his wife Raeda, but several attempts and many visits to the clinic proved fruitless.

"If God wanted us to have kids, then one of those 10 times would have worked," she says. "But everything is destined to be. I absolutely believe in God's will."

But the idea gradually took hold and grew into a form of political dissent.

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