In August 2002, 19-year-old Sergeant Kevin Cohen was guarding an Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip. At 7 a.m. he was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper. It was that bullet that killed Kevin and his dream, which he had related to his mother, Rachel Cohen, of one day fathering a child.
But this week, four years after his death, a dramatic ruling by an Israeli court means Kevin Cohen’s dream may very well come true.
A ‘biological will’
After her son’s death, Cohen approached a non-profit organization called “New Family” which is dedicated to advancing family rights.
The organization is trying to convince people to write a “biological will,” which in case of death would allow doctors to extract sperm from their bodies,” explained Irit Rosenblum, the founder of “New Family” and Cohen’s lawyer.
It was a mother’s instinct that led Cohen to request doctors to freeze her dead son’s sperm. Cohen said she had a dream one year after her son died.
“He appeared in my dream and asked me, mom what’s with my child? Please hurry,” said Cohen. “I woke up with a big sweat and decided to go ahead, all the way.”
Then came the legal battle, which was fought around the ruling permitting only the wife of a deceased man to extract his sperm and to become impregnated by it. The new ruling now recognizes the parent’s right over a dead child’s sperm.
Irit Rosenblum, left, founder of the Israeli non-profit organization “New Family,” and her client Rachel Cohen.
Cohen’s cell phone rang with the good news just as she was laying flowers on her son’s grave. “I was too nervous and frustrated with the court battle, I decided the best place to be was near Kevin’s grave,” said Cohen.
Rosenblum called with the news that her dream of becoming a grandmother was going to come true. “The decision gave me great happiness but still the pain is so huge, I turned to the grave and told the good news to Kevin,” said Cohen.
“The ruling represents a light at the end of the tunnel both for a family mourning the loss of a child, and also for a single woman wanting to bring a new life into this world,” said Rosenblum.
An unusual appeal
During the course of the legal battle Cohen sent out an emotional appeal to the Israeli public for help. It was a strange request: Would a woman come forward and give birth to Cohen’s dead son’s child?
The process of finding a mother for Kevin Cohen’s child took more than two years. Two hundred women were interviewed, medical tests were conducted, meetings with psychologists took place and finally one was chosen. “She won my heart right away,” said Cohen.
The 35-year-old woman preferred not to be identified, but Cohen said, “There are a lot of women out there that really want to know the father’s identity, his background, to be able to tell the child who was his father.”
Now Cohen is waiting for another phone call, for more good news, that maybe nine months from now she will become a grandmother. At last she will be able to look at her son’s picture and tell him he has a child.
Is it just me that finds this slightly disturbing? I mean.. it’d be one thing if he had been married, and his wife was trying to have his baby (though even that it a little odd to me under these circumstances), but this just does not sit well with me at all. That poor baby.