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

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Withdrawal method

18 March, 2009

Question:

Is ejaculation outside a woman as halachically incorrect as using a condom?
My wife is going through post natal depression. She is now getting help for it and making better progress. She cannot handle any hormonal forms of contraception. we have tried diaphragm – too uncomfortable as cervix is very far back. IUD not an option for its possible cause of infertilty. Spermicides are not very effective.
So is ejaculation outside as halachically incorrect as using condoms? Please let me know. Thanks


Answer:

We are sorry to hear of your wife's situation. May she have a quick and complete recovery!

Both ejaculation outside of the vagina ("early withdrawal") and ejaculating into a condom are considered hotza'at zera levatalah and are prohibited.

One possible method of birth control is the contraceptive sponge which may be less uncomfortable than the diaphragm. It is at least as effective as a condom. You should also reconsider the IUD. While there is a small risk for developing pelvic inflammatory disease from using an IUD (which may then increase the possibility of infertility), this is less of an issue with monogamous women.  Please have your wife speak to her physician to discuss her concerns. 

If it is critical to prevent pregnancy at this time, neither the condom nor spermicide is very effective (75-85%). Therefore there is no particular advantage to condoms. However, if your wife is fully breastfeeding and has not yet resumed menstruation, due to the reduction in fertility found in fully breastfeeding women, the level of protection spermicide offers may be sufficient.

Please read our article on choosing a contraceptive method for more information and discuss all available options with her physician.

Please feel free to get back to us with any further questions.


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