It’s every married couple's dream to start a family
Yet achieving this vision is often not as easy as one would hope. Roughly one in five couples experience some difficulty in becoming pregnant. The more challenging cases require assisted reproductive therapy (A.R.T.) fertility treatment to bring the dream to reality.
As with everything in life, the Torah guides us through the permissibility of individual treatments, under what conditions it is permitted, and with what guidelines. In seeking to achieve G-d’s greatest gift—children—these Divine guidelines must be followed to ensure compliance with Jewish law, thus creating the vessel to receive Hashem’s blessings.
Our organization was established for this very purpose; to assist and guide couples through these challenging times. This website seeks to provide a platform for those in need to contact our team for guidance and assistance, as well as to provide a source for preliminary information about available treatments.
Rabbi Ulman is a Senior Dayan on the Sydney Beth Din and a world-renowned Rabbinic authority in all matters related to fertility, genetics, and other contemporary complicated areas of Jewish Law.
Kosher IVF Coordinator
Rabbi Fox is a Dayan on the Johannesburg Beth Din and heads the Kosher fertility infrastructure in South Africa.
A.R.T. & JEWISH LAW
The various forms of fertility treatments that are medically required and available present different Halachic (legal) challenges from a Torah perspective.
Perhaps the most fundamental element, one which affects any form of fertility treatment, is the requirement to independently confirm with absolute certainty that the genetic material being used belongs to the couple undergoing the treatment and does not get mixed with others.
Artificial Insemination (A.I.)
Where medically possible, Halacha prefers to employ both the least invasive and the least Halachically-challenging process. In the case of A.R.T., this often leads to Artificial Insemination. While A.I. may not always be an effective solution, (depending on the nature of the medical condition), it should not be entirely disregarded. Depending on the severity of the issue, A.I. may yield successful results.
One of the main Halachic hurdles to overcome is the manner of procuring a genetic sample from the husband. The regular method advocated by the clinics is fraught with Halachic complications and concerns. Our team is ready to advise and guide as to the appropriate method to follow in the production of the sample.
In the event where both medical and Halachic opinion views A.I. as a viable solution, rabbinical supervision is required throughout the process of the preparation of the male sample used for insemination. Our organization provides this supervision at many clinics around the world. Please select your location on our website to find the nearest clinic with our supervision.
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
In a circumstance where Artificial Insemination is deemed inadequate, medical experts may advise on attempting In Vitro Fertilisation (I.V.F.). In this instance, apart from the sample provided by the husband, genetic material is collected from the wife as well. The sperm and the egg are then placed in a petri dish, allowing the sperm to fertilise the eggs. The embryos are then developed over the course of a few days, with intermittent inspections.
This process requires more intensive oversight than with A.I. The retrieval of the eggs from the female must be done with a Mashgich/a present (either in the theatre or the immediately-adjacent lab, depending on the clinic’s arrangement). As with A.I., once the male sample has been provided to the lab, the preparation of the sample must also be conducted under constant supervision. Additionally, over the course of a number of days, the embryos will be sighted to assess their development. A Mashiach/a must be present whenever the embryos are being removed from the incubator. The Mashgich/a must also be present whenever the embryos are loaded into the catheter for transfer. They ensure that the embryos have been released into the uterus by checking that the catheter has been fully emptied when it returns to the lab. Any remaining embryos are then frozen and stored, (all of which is done under the constant supervision of the Mashgiach/a), are sealed in an Halachically mandated manner.
Though clinics have their own protocols in place to prevent accidental mix-ups, Halacha requires external oversight and confirmation of the same. As such, the entire process of fertility treatment requires a Mashgiach/a present at all stages of genetic material handling. When the couple’s genetic material is not being tended to, special storage and sealing processes are employed to ensure it is not accessed in the absence of the Mashgiach/a.
IMPORTANT NOTE Though the integrity of fertility clinics are not being questioned, rigorous policies are still put in place to avoid the accidental use of someone else’s genetic material. For that reason, Halacha requires outside supervision.