Some halachic authorities require hashgacha (halachic supervision) of assisted reproductive technology–in laboratory procedures and during egg retrieval, insemination, or embryo transfer. Supervision is intended to ensure that the egg, sperm or embryos used in a procedure are as agreed upon with the couple, and to confirm the lineage of children conceived through ART. Halachic supervision is particularly widespread in Israel, where it is readily available.
However, since licensed ART clinics already employ extensive labeling and verification procedures that are recognized by halacha, other halachic authorities permit ART without outside verification.
Rabbanim and couples who follow the view that halachic supervision is not obligatory may nevertheless choose halachic supervision for an additional layer of confidence. Still, a desire for extra assurance should not override medical factors in scheduling a procedure or choosing an ART clinic. Halachic supervision can also sometimes place a financial burden on a couple, and that should be taken into account.
To discuss these issues further, couples can arrange a personal consultation with a Nishmat Fertility Counselor, a Yoetzet Halacha who has completed additional specialized training in this area. Consultations are free and can take place in person, by phone, or via internet conference.