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

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Insemination on Yom Tov

10 October, 2004

Question:

My questions are regarding intrauterine insemination, which might take place during the holidays, depending on the dr.’s decision as to when to do it, which would depend on my hormone levels/sonogram findings of mature follicles. After using Follistim injections, once appropriate, I would be told to use an ovidrel injection. The next day I would have 2 subsequent intrauterine inseminations done (one day after the next) My questions are:

1) Am I/my husband allowed to give me an injection on shabbos/yom tov, given that I wont have anyone else to give it to me?

2) Am I/my husband allowed to travel on shabbos/yom tov to the fertility center to have the sperm washing & Intrauterine inseminations done, if so what are the rules regarding this, if not what are my options – would I have to push off having my inseminations done – which would cause alot of distress & financial loss for my husband & I? I don’t have anywhere to stay that’s next to the center & it’s several miles away from my home.

Thank you so very much!


Answer:

We appreciate the sensitive nature of this question.

Performing an injection of this sort on Shabbat or Yom Tov is fully acceptable. You should make every effort to prepare the syringe in advance (e.g., on Friday, so that it is ready for use when you need it on Shabbat). Take precautions to keep it sterile, and check whether it then needs refrigeration. You can use an alcohol wipe to disinfect the skin just prior to injection. If you don’t use wipes on Shabbat, alcohol can be poured on the injection site directly.

Given the distress and financial loss involved, there can be some leniency with regard to rabbinic prohibitions and travel as well. However, as distressing as infertility is, it is not considered pikuach nefesh (a life life-threatening situation). Therefore, one cannot permit activities prohibited by Torah law in order to facilitate conception. That means, for example, that travel would only be possible if pre-arranged with a non-Jewish driver and you would ideally only make one trip over a Shabbat or Yom Tov.

Determining what can and what cannot be permitted requires more detailed information. We recommend 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 24 June, 2021.


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