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

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Using donated embryo

29 December, 2005


I thought the answer on embryo donation was only half answered. The issue of a Jewish couple donating an embryo was briefly touched upon. But what about a Jewish couple using a donated embryo in which the sperm was from a Gentile?


Thank you for your comment.

As we wrote, "Should Jews give embryos for adoption, one halachic concern would be with keeping track of all of a couple's progeny to avoid any future chances of incest.  However, in certain cases, it might be permitted for a Jewish couple to donate an embryo, under rabbinic guidance."  These concerns, and the need for rabbinic guidance, would also be present in the case of a Jewish couple deciding what sort of embryo to use.

As we've written regarding artificial insemination, since the commandment to be fruitful and multiply applies only to the husband, use of donor sperm does not fulfill this commandment and thus there is little justification for this specific intervention. Those who would permit it prefer a non Jewish donor to prevent the possibility of future marriage between siblings.

It is important to have halachic guidance throughout any such process.  Such guidance is provided by Machon Puah in Jerusalem.  Their website is

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