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

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Is donor sperm allowed?

30 January, 2023


Hi! Is donor sperm allowed? My husband and I have 3 kids, who were conceived with donor sperm before we became observant. We have since become observant and would really like to have another baby. We need to use donor sperm. My husband had zero sperm in his fluid. Doctors have said there is no chance of him getting me pregnant. Would it be allowed to use donor sperm?

Thank you!


Thank you for reaching out to us.

We appreciate the sensitive nature of this question.

Current consensus is to permit use of donor sperm. Since no act of forbidden relations is involved, there is no negative effect on the child’s status.

A Jewish donor’s sperm should be used only if the identity of the donor is known or listed in a registry, in order to rule out an unwitting future marriage between halachic siblings.

Use of sperm from a non-Jewish donor is permissible, because Jewish status depends only on the mother. Because of the concern about marriage between siblings, some authorities maintain that use of a non-Jew’s sperm is preferable.

Also, the fertility field is constantly developing, with increasing ability to extract sperm in cases where this would previously have been considered impossible. If he hasn’t yet, we encourage your husband to revisit this question and possible options with his medical team.

Please don’t hesitate to follow up with us. You might find it helpful to arrange a free consultation with a Yoetzet Halacha Fertility Counselor, details here, in order to discuss this and other halachic questions that might arise over the course of treatment.

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