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

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Receiving egg donation

28 May, 2004

Question:

Is my wife allowed under Jewish law to have eggs donated from another woman for implantation in my wife's uterus? Does the donor woman have to be Jewish or is it better for her not to be Jewish? Do you advise any specific fertility doctors or centers to visit? What are the most common problems associated with this process of having a genetically different mother?
Please advise as to Jewish law . Thank you.


Answer:

As the clinical use of egg donation is a relatively new phenomenon, there is not yet halachic consensus on this procedure. There is thus debate as to whether the status of the child is based on the egg donor, the woman carrying the child, or both. This answer to that question is important for deciding whether a Jewish egg donor (single and not closely related to either spouse) or a non-Jewish one should be used. There is an some aversion (non-binding) to involving a non Jew in the conception of a Jewish child for spiritual reasons.  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. These are the issues involved.

There are a number of halachic issues involved in artificial reproductive technology, which are discussed in this section of the website. Therefore it is best to use a center that is familiar with these issues (note that the MD should not be giving the halachic answers), and is sensitive to your needs. We do not give specific recommendations for centers. However, you can contact Machon Puah for such recommendations.


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