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

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Can IVF fulfill peru urvu?

23 June, 2006


My research has led me to believe that IVF is not required in order to fulfill the commandment of "Be Fruitful and Multiply", as the Torah only recommends we use natural means, as well as the fact that the commandment is upon men, while the application of IVF is upon the woman who is not bound by the obligation.

My question is:

Once one has already performed IVF and has had a boy and a girl, have they then fulfilled the commandment to be fruiful and multiply, or have they not, being that they were not required to begin with?

In other words, understanding that IVF is not REQUIRED in order to fulfill Pru Urevu, has one who DID do IVF fulfilled pru urevu or have they not since it was not required?


This question has been debated in the halachic literature, as have ramifications in other areas of Jewish law such as inheritance.  Some halachic decisors, including R Eliezer Waldenberg, did not consider children conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) to fulfill the mitzvah of peru urvu.  The halachic consensus, however, is to consider children born through IVF as fulfillment of this command.

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