Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Egg retrieval on Shabbat

18 January, 2005

Question:

I'm undergoing an IVF cycle. I have had numerous complications along the way, but it seems as though things are stabilizing and I can undergo the egg retrieval process. The only problem is that it falls on Shabbat. According to my doctor, delaying the procedure is not possible, as the eggs will be too big and it will endanger my ovaries. Doing it a day early will result in eggs that are too small, and possibly a failed cycle. Can I still undergo the procedure on Shabbat? I can walk to my doctors office, and take stairs, but on the way back I'll be sedated so I may need to have a taxi take me home. Is this ok?

I've been through 14 days of injections, and major ovarian pain, and would hate to have this be cancelled due to it falling on Shabbat. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Answer:

Moving up the procedure to late Friday afternoon would be the preferred solution.  If you cannot do this, you do not have to delay your procedure.  If possible, make arrangements to stay at the doctor's office through the end of Shabbat or at least until you are strong enough to walk home. 

If this is impossible, you could hire a non-Jewish driver to take you home.  You would make all arrangements prior to Shabbat: the driver would wait for you at a specified time, open and close doors for you without your prompting, know in advance where to go and how to get there, and receive payment in advance.  Also, please note that your medical team cannot include Jews in any way violating Shabbat for you.

We wish you success in your treatment.


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