The hangar is full of people, the tension is palpable. More than 6,000 couples from all corners of the Gaza Strip have come, only a hundred are selected. The men smoke and laugh on one side and the women on the other, wrapped in long robes. At last a man steps on the stage, it stops. He takes small pieces of paper from a bowl and reads:
"The next beneficiaries of free in vitro fertilization are ..."
Such events are not uncommon in Gaza. Party-based organizations often award free inseminations. One of them is the Palestinian Center for Human Perseverance (Fata), headed by the wife of a former Fatah leader.
Behind it lies political calculation. "The only way to get people's consent is to give people what they want most," says Salah al-Rintissi, director of a hospital and spokesman for the Ministry of Health. And people wish: children.
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The Gaza Strip is a very child-rich area. According to the CIA World Factbook, 44 percent of the population is under 15 years old. On average, a woman gives birth to almost four children. Nevertheless, artificial inseminations are very much in demand. Because: children's wealth is considered a status symbol. Infertility can lead to isolation and social ostracism, and marriages can break.
The situation in the Gaza Strip, which is dominated by Islamist Hamas, is steadily worsening, according to the UN. The economy is down, potable water and electricity are scarce. In response to attacks by militant Palestinians, the Israeli military continues to bombard Gaza.
"It may seem daring to have children here under the bad conditions," says Omar, whose wife Warda is one of those who receive fertilization from "Fata." "But a life without children is meaningless."
In the late 1990s, the first clinic for in-vitro fertilization in Gaza City opened, and ever since there are more and more retort children in Gaza. But: The procedure is expensive, between 2000 and 3000 dollars per attempt. That's why many rely on the free inseminations of organizations like Fata. The chances of success of in vitro fertilization are less than 30 percent and decrease with increasing age of the woman.
Photographer Daniela Sala was in the Gaza Strip and met couples who opted for artificial insemination.
10 picturesGaza Strip: Artificial insemination in the crisis area
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