With the advancement of medical technology and research, different possibilities for fertility treatments have come about, such as IUI, GIFT, ZIFT, IVF, ECSI, egg donations, surrogacy etc. Different ethical schools of thought and religions began to respond to the question of acceptability of these methods. One objection was that you are tampering with nature in the same way as surgery is tampering with G-d. Judaism negates this approach. Whenever we are given the knowledge to be able to help people this is a gift from G-d as long as the method is permitted according to Halacha one is permitted to apply it. In the same way as surgery is tampering with G-d.  

The main premise on which IVF and similar methods were permitted according to Halacha is to ensure the sanctity of the Jewish family. Therefore the sperm and the egg should come from husband and wife and a Halachically acceptable independent supervision must ensure that nothing was replaced and no mistake was made.

The supervision ensures that at every stage of the process the sperm, eggs, embryos, culture, medium etc. are either within the sight of the supervisor or sealed. A female trained Shomeret (supervisor) oversees the pickup of the eggs and the embryo transfer.

All issues concerning donors have Halachic concerns including the Jewish status of the child and Rabbi Ulman advises and counsels couples on those issues including conversion of the child when necessary. Other issues among many with which Halacha is concerned with are: what to do with frozen embryos in case of death of either of the parents, divorce etc., the method of producing a sperm sample and many other issues.

In Australia, Rabbi Ulman of the Sydney Beth Din is the Rabbinic authority in all matters related to fertility. All Halachic (sanctioned by Jewish law) fertility treatments are under his guidance. We are fortunate enough in Sydney that the three major fertility clinics in the eastern suburbs have specific processes in place to accommodate the Rabbi and supervisors, which is required by Halacha. Rabbi Ulman is also the Rabbinic advisor for AJFN.

Couples who wish to access fertility treatment or who have further questions can contact Rabbi Ulman who is always happy to explain the whole process. He can be contacted on 9365-2777 or by email ulman@tpg.com.au

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