Receiving egg donation
28 May, 2004
Is my wife allowed under Jewish law to have eggs donated from another woman for implantation in her uterus? Does the donor have to be Jewish or is it better for her not to be Jewish? Do you advise any specific fertility doctors or centers to visit? What are the most common problems associated with this process of having a genetically different mother?
Please advise as to Jewish law. Thank you.
Whether the religious status of the child is based on the egg donor, the woman carrying the child, or both is a matter of halachic debate. While non-Jewish donors can raise questions about a child’s religious status, Jewish donors can raise concerns about the child unwittingly marrying siblings.
In practice, babies born from procedures involving non-Jewish surrogates or egg donors often undergo conversion in early infancy to ensure that they are considered Jewish according to all opinions.
There are a number of other halachic issues involved in assisted reproduction. Therefore it is best to use a center that is familiar with these considerations (note that the medical personnel should not be offering halachic rulings), and is sensitive to your needs. We do not give specific recommendations for centers.
We do recommend arranging a personal consultation with a Nishmat Fertility Counselor, a Yoetzet Halacha who has completed additional specialized training in this area. Consultations are free and can take place in person, by phone, or via internet conference.
This response was updated on 12 April, 2021.
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