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

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Halachic obligation to try IVF?

21 June, 2017

Question:

Hello. Thank you for your wonderful website.

I have a question regarding my halachic obligation to undergo in vitro fertilization treatment.

Both my husband and I have been married previously and B'H we both have children from our previous marriages. All of my husband's children are of the same gender. We have been married for several years, and I have not been able to become pregnant yet. I am in my early 40s.

We were told that because of my age, the only fertility treatment that will be effective will be IVF. But even IVF has extremely limited success rate in my age group. Because of this statistics of low success rate of IVF in women who are 40+, the fact that B'H we both have children, and the fact that IVF is emotionally, physically, and economically draining, we have made a decision to not pursue it. It was a very difficult decision, but we believe it's the right one for our family.

My question is, however, if I have halachic obligation to attempt IVF since my husband only has children of the same gender. If I do have such an obligation, would one cycle be sufficient to fulfill it?


Answer:

We appreciate the sensitive nature of this question.

In general, a couple are not obligated to pursue a fertility treatment such as IVF. This is the case even when the husband does not have one child of each gender.

You may stick with your decision.  If you have not yet done so, you may wish to schedule a consultation with a fertility specialist, on the chance that there is another way for you to become pregnant that the two of you would choose to pursue.

Please write back with any further questions.


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