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A Journal on Forensic Medicine




Minerva Medicolegale 2001 September;121(3): 171-80

language: Italian

Sperm cryopreservation: criminal liability of biotechnical malpractice

Santovito D., Papotti C. M., Iorio M.


Cryopreservation is an artificial method that preserves spermatozoas active and viable. It offers to all men diagnosed with cancer the reasonable chances to become father after oncology therapy. In this work we evaluate if a wrong preservation or a loss of cryopreserved semen is a personal injury and a biotechnical malpractice. The problem is the adherence of biotechnological progress to the medico-legal concept of ''disease'', and so the cyborg-evolution of the organism potentiality, that is the unit in which the disease has to take root in order to be of criminal relevance. The concept of procreation liability is re-examined. The international scientific community is still giving a great attention to the medical, ethical, juridical and religious problems about the possibility of embryos and gametes cryopreservation and there is not a satisfactory solution, yet. It appears useful to examine the semen cryopreserved procedures and all juridical reflexes of human error, that can jeopardize cryopreservation process with the result of definitive and objective loss of procreation liability.

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