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

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Collecting sperm sample

22 December, 2005


My husband needs to have a semen analysis done. For reasons of timing he needs to produce the sample at the lab. The lab provides a private room with a bed. While usually the sample is obtained through masturbation, there is also the option of obtaining it by intercourse and using a special condom. Should we use this method I would have to accompany my husband and have sex with him in this special room. I am willing to do this if it is the proper halachic way, but I feel very uncomfortable doing so. What is the best way to proceed?


Although it is very understandable why this would make you uncomfortable, it is halachically preferable for your husband to collect the semen sample via intercourse as masturbation is a serious issue in Jewish law. In general, halacha does not allow the purposeful ejaculation of semen outside a woman's body, or into a condom. However, in cases such as yours, where it is needed to allow the couple to have children, it can be permitted.

Ask your physicians if you could use a perforated condom.  These are special sterile condoms with a hole in them and should not be made at home. They are somewhat preferable halachically (as in theory some sperm could escape) and should be available from the fertility specialist who is treating you. If they are not, then contact Machon Puah in Jerusalem for further suggestions regarding availability.  However, if using such a condom would invalidate the sample, you may use the condom without the hole.

Regarding the room, it is generally a private facility.  It may help make you feel comfortable if you can bring your own sheets and turn off the lights.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance to you.

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