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More Than 4,000 Embryos Reportedly Destroyed in Gaza Fertility Clinic

© East News / Cultura Images RFIn-vitro fertilization
In-vitro fertilization - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.04.2024
A Reuters-commissioned journalist who visited the site said the lab was littered with debris including broken masonry, blown-up lab supplies and the liquid nitrogen tanks which once held hopeful parents’ dreams.
More than 4,000 embryos and 1,000 other specimens were destroyed in Gaza’s largest fertility clinic in December when an Israeli shell struck Gaza’s largest fertility clinic. The explosion caused the lids of five liquid nitrogen tanks stored in Gaza City’s Al Basma IVF Center to blast off and lose their liquid nitrogen, destroying hopeful plans for parents experiencing infertility.
There are at least nine clinics in Gaza where in vitro fertilization (IVF) is performed, and most of the frozen embryos were held at the Al Basma center.

“We know deeply what these 5,000 lives, or potential lives, meant for the parents, either for the future or for the past,” said Bahaeldeen Ghalayini, 73, the Cambridge-trained obstetrician and gynecologist who established the clinic in 1997.

He adds that at least half of the couples will not have another chance of getting pregnant after their embryos were destroyed.
Large families are very common in Gaza and IVF is widely available in the enclave. Nearly half the population of Gaza is under the age of 18 and the fertility rate is high at 3.38 births per woman, according to the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics.
Some families in the enclave who are struggling to conceive will even sell their TVs or jewelry just to pay the medical fees, said Al Ghalayini, who was forced to close his clinic following the beginning of the conflict between Hamas and Israel.
“My heart is divided into a million pieces,” he said.
Israel has denied intentionally targeting civilian infrastructure while at the same time repeatedly accusing Hamas fighters of operating from medical facilities, a claim that an American news source investigated and found little evidence to support.
It is estimated that about 32,000 Palestinians have died compared to 1,200 Israelis since the conflict between Hamas and Israel first broke out. In January, the International Court of Justice found that it is "plausible" that Israel has committed acts that violate the Genocide Convention, after a genocide case was brought against them by South Africa.
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