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Egg Donation

Egg donation is an artificial reproductive technology where an ovum (egg) is retrieved from one woman (the donor) and fertilized. The resulting embryo is implanted in another woman (the birth mother), who carries the fetus until its birth. As the clinical use of this procedure is a relatively new phenomenon, there is no clear halachic consensus as to whether the status of the child is based on the egg donor, the woman carrying the child, or both. The answer to that question is important in deciding whether to use a Jewish donor (unrelated to either spouse) or a non-Jewish one. There is some non-binding aversion to involving a non Jew in the conception of a Jewish child for spiritual reasons. Furthermore, if the mother is the non-Jewish egg donor, the child might require conversion. On the other hand, with a Jewish donor one would have to worry about preventing the child from later marrying siblings from any side, which is not the case with a non Jewish donor.

In light of the questions involved, some rabbis will avoid the process altogether. Others will permit it if other avenues of fertility treatment have failed. A specific rabbinic question should be asked in all cases.

Additional halachic questions are raised by the sperm donation that is needed for this procedure, and by artificial reproductive technology in general. It is best to use a fertility center that is familiar with these issues (note that the physician should not be giving the halachic answers), or at the very least is sensitive to these concerns and willing to modify routine practices to accommodate them.

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Information for your Health Care Provider


Click on the link(s) below for related articles from Jewish Women's Health, Nishmat's website for medical professionals. You may find it helpful to share this information with your physician by printing or emailing relevant articles,
or by accessing the site during your appointment.

  Halachic Issues in Infertility Treatment

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