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

  • Hebrew
  • English
  • Espnaol
  • Francais
Menu

Presence of male assistant MD

23 January, 2007

Question:

Tzniut question:

I recently underwent fertility treatments and selected a female doctor due to my personal preferences.

During one of the procedures, I was going to be completely exposed from the waist down while a male assistant of the doctor was going to stand there assisting her in full view. I objected to not being covered at all and the participation of the male assistant, both of which made me feel extremely uncomfortable.

Aside from my personal preferences, is there any halachic basis for not having oneself exposed in such a way to a man, even though he is a medical professional?

Thank you for your assistance, and tizku lemitzot.


Answer:

We appreciate the sensitive nature of this question.

Undergoing fertility treatments can be a vulnerable experience even without others present. Just as it is your right to have another person present in the room during an examination, it is your right to object to having another person in the room if there is no reason for him to be there. The doctor should certainly respect your wish regardless of the reason.

From a halachic standpoint, a woman should not be exposed when there is no medical purpose. This is the reason it is preferable to go to a female doctor when possible, as long as it does not entail any compromise in quality of treatment.

Technically, though, there is no prohibition on the patient’s part in a scenario such as you describe. The primary halachic concern applies to a male observer, but even this concern would likely not lead to a halachic transgression in the case that you describe. There is no prohibition involved when an observer’s presence serves a constructive purpose, whether medical (e.g., he is assisting the doctor medically), scientific (e.g., he is doing research), or professional (e.g., he is studying to become a doctor).

We stress again, with no relation to halacha, that you have the right to demand privacy in this situation. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

This response was updated on 8 April 2021.


This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

For further questions or comments: 

The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.


Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.