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

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IUI procedures

26 July, 2009

Question:

My husband and I are getting ready for IUI – first of all, I have heard about a special condom for collection, but not sure if my doctor will allow it– second, my doctor wants me to do it before I go to the mikvah if I am ovulating before then. And third, I've heard something about watching over the sperm while it's being washed to make sure it's my husband's – are all of these things preferable but not necessarily assur? I am under a lot of pressure with this process and don't know if I can do all of these extra "steps".


Answer:

Collecting sperm during relations with a special condom is the halachically preferable method of collection because male masturbation is generally prohibited.  Please discuss this method of sperm collection with your physician. Most fertility specialists are aware of this consideration and have access to such special semen collection devices. There is some halachic preference for using a condom with a pinpoint hole. However, if your physician thinks the possible exposure to bacteria from this minute hole will decrease the chances of successful IUI in your case, collection can be done using a condom without a hole.

There is a debate among halachic authorities about performing IUI before a woman has immersed to exit the niddah status.  Some authorities permit it.  Others require an intermediate tevilah before the IUI procedure and a proper tevilah afterwards. Please discuss this issue with your rabbi. If you do not have a rabbi to whom you can address these questions, please get back to us for a specific halachic ruling.

Supervision of the sperm until it is inserted, to ensure it does not get mixed up or exchanged with another man's, is halachically desirable to avoid questions regarding your child's lineage.  Some halachic authorities permit IUI to proceed without outside supervision, so long as the physician is reputable and at least one other health professional is present to ensure there is no mix up.

As you note, there are a lot of steps involved.  We think you would be best off contacting a halachic authority experienced in this area to help guide you through this process.  This could be a local rav, a rav associated with halachic supervision of assisted reproduction (click here for a list of clinics where supervision is available), or Machon Puah www.puah.org.il, an institute devoted to providing guidance, support, and halachic supervision for observant couples engaged in infertility diagnosis and treatment.

We hope your procedure is smooth and successful.  Please get back to us if we can be of further assistance.


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