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

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Male contraceptive gel injection

18 March, 2013

Question:

There is a new contraceptive method being developed for men ("RISUG" or "Vasalgel"), where a gel is injected into the vas deferens, partially blocking it and disabling any sperm cells that get through. The method works for at least ten years, but is reversible. Assuming a couple has a heter to use birth control, I am wondering if this method would be halachically acceptable, if proven safe and very easily reversible.

This is intended as a question for Rav Henkin. Thanks so much.


Answer:

There is a distinct commandment, based on Leviticus 22:24, forbidding sterilization of animals and people. This is considered a Torah commandment for men and a rabbinic decree for women. 

The contraceptive method you suggest, although reversible, remains efficacious for years.  It would be prohibited as a type of male sterilization, much like the "kos shel ikarin" prohibited in Shulhan Arukh Even Haezer 5:12.  It is possible that in some unique cases it would be permitted for use, but not as a first resort.

As with all our site's answers, this was personally reviewed and approved by Rav Henkin.


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