Surrogacy and Egg Donation Programs
How Judaism influences Surrogacy and Egg Donation Arrangements
Q. How does Judiasm affect Surrogacy and Egg Donation situations?
A. Jewish Surrogacy and Egg Donation allows Jewish Intended Parents to use the services of a surrogate or egg donor to expand their families allowing the resulting child(ren) to be considered Jewish under Jewish Law.
Q. Why do Jewish Intended Parents need this type of service?
A. Many Jewish Intended Parents do not. However, many Jewish Intended Parents who are of the Orthodox faith, or who live in the country of Israel may absolutely need a Jewish Surrogate or egg donor, in order to follow the Halachic views of their Rabbi or the faith.
Q. What is the reason for these views?
A. These views are guidelines for Jewish Intended Parents who want their future children considered Jewish in the eyes of the Jewish faith, without the need of conversion. As well, a child born Jewish reaps certain benefits of Jewish citizenship, in Israel. However, each Rabbi may have their own rules about using a surrogate or egg donor, based on their own individual interpretations of Jewish law.
Q. Give me an example of rules that may need to be followed by these Intended Parents.
A. Examples include:
1) A Surrogate/Egg Donor must be unmarried or married to a non-Jew.
2) A Surrogate/Egg Donor must be Jewish based on her mother being Jewish and her maternal grandmother being Jewish.
3) The egg donor must not be Jewish at all. (in some cases)
Q. How can we prove a surrogate or egg donor is Jewish?
A. It is helpful and sometimes important to have some type of documentation that the Surrogate or Egg donor is Jewish. Documents showing maiden names of the surrogate's mother and grandmother, Bat Mitzvah or baby naming documentation, the Donor/Surrogate's Parents' Ketubbah, can be very helpful.
Certification can be done by a national Beth Din organization. I can arrange certification with the Beth Din. In some cases documentation is unavailable or no longer exists. In these cases we may be able to use maiden names in hope a potential surrogate can be certified or accepted by a Rabbi. For some Rabbis, documentation is not necessary.
Q. How easy is it to find a Jewish surrogate?
A. Unfortunately it is very difficult to find a Jewish Surrogate, especially an unmarried surrogate. The demand is significantly higher than the supply. It can take many months to years to find a Jewish mother willing to serve as surrogate for an infertile couple, if not longer. I would implore any healthy mother to consider helping others in this way.
Q. How can Fertility Alternatives help?
A. Fertility Alternatives specializes in Jewish matches. Being Jewish myself, and having experienced, first hand, what it is like to be Surrogate and Egg donor, I can provide assistance and information to Jewish women considering such a gift.
Assisted Reproduction and Judaism
by Miryam Z. Wahrman, Ph.D