Russian troops able to freeze sperm for free – lawyer
Russian soldiers called up to fight in Ukraine will have the chance to store frozen sperm in a cryobank for free, according to a leading Russian lawyer.
Russian Union of Lawyers head Igor Trunov told state news agency Tass the health ministry had responded to his appeal for a free cryobank, and changes to compulsory medical insurance.
Russia mobilised 300,000 reservists after a string of setbacks in Ukraine.
Men then began approaching clinics to have their sperm frozen, reports said.
Mr Trunov announced on Twitter that his union was applying on behalf of several couples where the husband had been called up to take part in the special military operation (SVO) – the term used by Russia for its war in Ukraine.
The health ministry is yet to comment on Mr Trunov’s remarks and the lawyer told the BBC his union would have to follow up with the department on what procedure there would be.
He told Tass the ministry had “determined the possibility of financial support from the federal budget for free conservation and storage of germ cells (spermatozoa) for citizens mobilised to take part in the SVO for 2022-2024”.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February with up to 200,000 troops. It has not only lost more than half the territory it occupied during the initial phase of the war, but has suffered losses in the tens of thousands.
In September President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilisation”, and casualties have continued to mount. More than 250,000 Russian men fled the country to avoid the draft.
Within days of the call-up, the Fontanka website in Russia’s second biggest city, St Petersburg, reported a surge in men approaching IVF and fertility clinics to freeze their sperm and draw up documents entitling their wives to use it.
Andrei Ivanov from the city’s Mariinsky hospital said men preparing for the draft had come forward, as well as those who were planning to leave Russia.
Russian men and women rarely used the clinics “just in case” something went wrong, Fontanka reported, and they had never considered freezing their biomaterial before.
However, this solution meant that if a man died – or lost the ability to reproduce – then he would still be able to have children.
In recent weeks, the initial increase in men approaching reproductive clinics appears to have subsided.
One Moscow clinic contacted by the BBC said it doubted any quotas to store biomaterial could be promised as they would have all been agreed for 2023.