Israel – Many of the country’s most influential rabbinical arbiters have gradually changed their minds from considering the woman who undergoes in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor eggs the baby’s halachic mother, to regarding the donor – even if she is not Jewish – as the real mother.
The new opinion, according to Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Halperin, means that the government bill to regulate the donation of ova must be passed immediately, even though it is “not perfect.”
Halperin, who headed the Health Ministry-appointed committee that prepared the bill going back 10 years, disclosed this at the 10th annual conference of the Puah Institute for Fertility and Medicine According to Halacha in Jerusalem on Wednesday. It was attended by over 1,500 people – men and women strictly separated by a divider – and presented lectures on women’s health issues by leading rabbis and physicians from around the country.
Because of the complete turnover of opinion among leading rabbis as to who is the mother according to Jewish law when ova for IVF are donated, more “Jewish eggs” must be donated so that desperate, infertile Israeli women will not have to go abroad to purchase eggs from non-Jews.
After years of deliberations, the bill was passed on its first reading by the previous Knesset, but it still must be given official “continuity” by passing it in the present Knesset.
Due to the long delays by religious parties and others, two secular MKs presented a copy of the government bill as a private members’ bill for passage that would not require continuity status. After many consultations with rabbis, Deputy Health Minister (and Ger hassid) Ya’acov Litzman said recently he will bring it to the committee that grants continuity status so it can move ahead.
Halperin said the bill was prepared initially for social reasons, but that these took on added urgency for medical and halachic reasons.
Twenty-nine years ago, after a woman died following her altruistic donation of ova, the ministry set regulations that only a woman undergoing fertility treatments could donate extra ova to another woman. It was meant to protect the health of the donors and discourage women from selling their ova.
However, when some years ago a leading gynecologist was caught taking extra ova from women he was treating for infertility and selling them to others, the number of women ready to donate was reduced almost to zero, forcing would-be mothers without healthy ova to go abroad to purchase them. Most of these were produced by non-Jewish women.
With eggs from non-Jewish women now regarded – but not officially stated – by leading rabbinical arbiters as producing non-Jewish babies through IVF, Halperin said at the conference that the bill was even more urgently needed.
As there is currently no government listing of Israeli donors of eggs, it was important under the bill to have a registry so that IVF children that plan to marry are not discovered to be biological siblings, he said. If they married, 20 percent would have children with severe defects, as well as severe halachic prohibitions.
If a baby is produced from a “non-Jewish egg,” when it is old enough, he or she would have to undergo Orthodox conversion when reaching the age of bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah.
In addition, said Halperin, an Orthodox rabbi and trained gynecologist, the bill would allow thousands of healthy Jewish women to donate ova without undergoing fertility treatments and be compensated for their pain and time, meaning “non-Jewish eggs” would not have to be obtained abroad. “It is absolutely legitimate for rabbinical arbiters to reconsider and change their views,” Halperin stressed, declining to name these leading rabbis.
“It will not be an ideal law,” continued Halperin, but it will greatly improve the current situation. It will prevent serious halachic problems, so a great effort must be made to get it passed after waiting for a decade.”
If a Jewish couple buys the egg from a non Jew for IVF purposes, why wouldn’t it be a Jewish child?
How come it is legal to buy and sell ovaries, yet it is illegal to buy and sell
kidneys? What hypocracy!
Do you realize how people are being brain washed, and when a Yid was
caught buying kidneys for sick people (neither was forced), he is being
treated and looked at like a criminal!
Because the egg donor is the mother.
This article leaves more questions than answers. Who changed their minds, which Rabbonim? What was the reasoning…?
Reply to #3
I’m no biologist, but there is a HUGE difference between selling harvested eggs versus the actual ovary.
I don’t understand any of this. A baby begins at conception. How can a non-Jew “bring down” a Jewish neshama? Obviously the egg can never be Jewish unless the biological mother is Jewish. It seems very simple to me, and yet the rabbis can’t decide……
Never understood how this can be halachally allowed, as no one ever thinks of the poor child that is to be born. Eventually the child grows up and how must he or she feel accepting the carrier as the mother and yet the actual biological mother being someone else. At least an adopted child has a normal background of parents that for some reason or other couldn’t raise it; but this is a preplanned situation. There might be children who are up for adoption even if they’re not infants, that could use the raising of a normal set of parents and family and that would be a big mitzvah.
It is my understanding that if a fertilized egg from Jewish parents is implanted in a non-Jewish surrogate mother, the baby is not considered Jewish since the mother carrying the baby to term is not.
Why is it better to use jewish eggs with the problem of siblings and mamzerus. They would potentially have the status of asufi. Wouldn’t non-jewish eggs be better because you can do a conversion and there is no problem of potential incest/ mamzerus?
Would that mean if the egg donor was a Jewish woman and a non Jew (Surrogate) was carrying the baby, then the baby would be Jewish and not have to go through Giur?
so lets look at it the other way…
what if a jewish mother donates an egg to a gentile couple for IVF,
are we now saying that baby carried by a gentile woman and fertilized with the gentile sperm is jewish?
That leaves me thinking
‘Am I jewish?’ Or can I move on
I recall a piece of talmud that states: when there is a halachic arbitration between the leading rabbis in israel and the diaspora, we accept the ruling of the diasporic rabbis.
I read that the majority of American Rabbis including Rabbis Bleich Furszt (sp?) and Cohen opine that the Birth mother not biological mother is the mother that determines the faith.
One one of the factors deciding that is that the egg prior to transplant/ fertilization is maya be’alma same as water. Also we see that (according to one of the midrashim) Hashem transplanted Rochels egg with Leas egg, and vice versa. Dina is still called Bas Leah even though in originally was not her egg. (and though we do not pasken according to midrash it is considered an esmachta) another proof is that if a woman converts to Judaism after the conception of a fetus, the fetus is born Jewish even though the conception the fetus was gentile.
I believe that halachically there are many more reasons to consider the baby conceived of a gintile donated egg jewish. I have quoted the above from memory of different shiurim. If someone remembers more clearly or can shed more light, or knows that I have erred, I would appreciate it.
If a woman underwent IVF with donated ova (eggs) and her Rabbi told her that the child will be Jewish. Now when the rabbi changed his mind, what happens to ancestors of this fetus produced by non Jewish egg? Do you have to have wholesale conversions of all descendants of this donated egg?
it seems to me that no matter what a group of authorities paskin, there will come some other authority and state otherwise…
then others come around and quote and quote and then as usual it becomes chumra after chumra
this alone is very sad to me..
the question of who is a jew is getting more complicated…(needlessly i believe)
Is this a game of monopoly where you get to “change your mind” according to whatever suits best politically or otherwise, play with lives and identity of who is a Jew and who isn’t???
Today you decide who is and tomorrow or a 20 years later you change your mind and affect generations of possible mamzerus and Jews marrying a goy and a presumed Jewish Girl of IVF having generations of children all getting married to Jews because they all assumed they are Jews and then “one good morning” someone wakes up “on the other side” and says “I changed my mind” and they are not Jews?
Recently an elderly Holocaust survivor died, who had 2500 decadents. Now if he was female and form IVF and you have 2,500 lives you can PLAY GAMES with – today they are all Jewish and tomorrow you change your mind that they are not and the next day you can change your mind once more that they are Jewish again?
All of these 2,500 (all form one IVF) will all have another 2,500 children in a few years time. 2,500 X 2,500 = more than 6 Million (do the math).
In less than 100 year just ONE IVF can result in 6 Million Children you can PLAY football with to throw them back and forth each day if they are Jews or not!?!
“The new opinion, according to Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Halperin, means that the government bill to regulate the donation of ova must be passed immediately, even though it is “not perfect.””
This quote form the article show that the change in halachic interpretation has been done for political reasons. What “rabbinic authority” today thinks he is big enough to overturn Rav Moshe Feinstein’s very clear psak on this matter?
It would seem clear that since Jewish identity is PASSED-ON THROUGH THE MOTHER’s material contribution (DNA), any resulting neshama would be Jewish or not depending on the mother.
Following this it seems quite simple that: an egg of gentile origin would definitely result in a non-Jewish baby, regardless of what path was taken in the interim, for the criteria of Jewish identity are not satisfied.
With regard to an egg of Jewish origin carried by a gentile however, there is still various doubts as to the resulting status of the offspring, due to factors that may impede the residing of a Jewish neshama in this case, such as the nullification of the egg to the body of the mother (basar b’alma) prior to conception etc, or that a Jewish neshama will only reside in a Jewish mother etc.
If the above is valid, it is clear a non-Jewish egg results in a non-Jewish baby, Yet a Jewish egg MAY require other factors as well to result in a Jewish baby.
To address all concerns, an organization should be started to collect Jewish eggs (paying a fair price, or more), and record their donors/recipients in a discreet register to avoid eventual mis-marriage etc, best partnered with Dor Yeshorim
does a c section baby need gerus just to be sure?
See comment numbers above 37, 40 and 41.
It seems lechumra we should be asking these questions..
A c-section baby does not need geirus!
As far as I can recall the neshama enters the fetus 40 days after conception.
for those with inside information: what does Machon Puah have to say about this? will this change their policies? which rabbis made this announcement?
Does the fact that Rav Halperin is associated with the Puah institute which would benefit financially make this questionable?
It seems as if Chareidi Jews are impatient with the fact that they are outstripping the birth rates of the dati le’umi and chiloni population, but not fast enough. This psak would of course decrease the numbers born to non-chareidim, and when IVF babies are born and the kids have to be converted, the same rabbonim demand that the families become chareidi in order to convert the new baby, which also helps the demographics.
I can’t see why they are standing against Rav Feinstein, Bleich, Bick, and Broyde.
In the past 30 years, many technological innovations have made significant changes in health care field. Israel is considered as a country having highest ratio of fertility treatments. Thousands of processes are successfully performed in each clinic as present at http://www.ilexmedical.com/products.php?id=211 in Israel. Thus their doctors become quite use to with the process and offer more reliable treatment than other part of world. Even they made the process less expensive.