English Soldier’s Bid for Military Sperm Bank
After surviving devastating injuries in Afghanistan, Sergeant Rick Clement began campaigning for the Military of Defense (MoD) to set up a sperm bank for soldiers. His request has been rejected.
The thirty-five year old man from Blackpool, England served in The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment for fourteen years injury free. Then, in 2010, a Taliban landmine blew up and caused extensive injuries. Sergeant Clement lost both of his legs and his sexual function.
After his injuries, Clement and his fiancée, Leanne Isaacs, were married. Soon after their wedding, the realities of his condition drew them apart and eventually broke up their marriage.
Clement called the MoD ‘heartless’ after they denied his request for a military sperm bank. This sperm bank could be used by enlisted men so that in the event of some sort of injury preventing fatherhood, or even death, they could still have children.
“This is devastating news. I fear that, as a result of the MoD’s decision, more soldiers will be denied the pleasure of fathering children. Many cannot afford the cost of storing their sperm privately. Others may take their fertility for granted. The MoD has enough medical facilities to incorporate a sperm bank.
I know what it is like to feel that you’re not a man any more. A guy can’t feel much worse than that, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. The MoD has let soldiers down in a bid to save money, it is heartless.”
The Military of Defense based its decision on the ‘extremely low’ number of military men who are infertile due to wounds incurred in service. They say only 24 English troops are infertile due to military injuries.
The MoD would have to pay to store the soldiers’ sperm at private clinics, which starts around £300 per year. Then there is the consideration for females who wish to store eggs, which costs a great deal more.
Sergeant Clement is determined. “I’m not going to give up just yet - it is disappointing but it’s exactly what I was expecting. If it does happen to one guy and they have frozen sperm from my campaign and learned from what happened to me, then it will be worth it. Even if it’s just one person, for somebody to be able to have a child in circumstances like mine then it would be amazing.”
A Solicitor, Hilary Meredith, strongly opposes the MoD’s decision, “The Government’s lack of commitment to assisting these seriously injured soldiers is hugely disappointing. The least they could do is allow these men the gift to father children post-injury, which would cost so little given the happiness this would bring.”
A spokesperson for the MoD said, “We recognize the devastating impact these rare but serious injuries can have, which is why the UK was the first country to give men and women a multi-tiered pelvic protection system. The equipment was developed once the full impact and threat of IEDs became apparent and all troops in Afghanistan receive this life-saving equipment.”
Sergeant Clement will keep fighting to give all soldiers a chance to preserve their fertility. He would not wish the heartache he has experienced on any of his fellow comrades.
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