Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Every Sperm is Sacred

The issue of articifical insemination has always been a tricky one in halacha. Like other areas of bioethics, passions run high when the subject is discussed. Although there are opinions both forbidding sperm donation outright and those that are relatively lenient, the mainstrem opinion, as authored by the Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, permits artificial donation by the husband (AIH) to his wife in certain cases, but not much else.
What struck me as odd in this article from Ynet, "Tzohar rabbis say ‘no’ to sperm donations to single women" is that the question came up at all. After all, if AIH is the only form of donation permitted, and these women have no husbands, why are they asking in the first place?
As the article makes clear, there are now women, some of them presumably frum, who have not managed to secure a suitable life mate but wish, nevertheless, to become mothers. There are, of course, three ways to go about this. The least problematic, from a halachic point of view, would be adoption. Most problematic would be frequenting a chiloni singles bar in the hopes of getting lucky enough times to become pregnant. Somewhere just to the right of that is the hope that through artificial insemination, the same result can be had without having to listen to all the bad Israeli pickup lines. ("Hey baby, you want to go disco?")
Yet as the Rabbonim in this article point out, it is incredibly twisted to think that single motherhood is an ideal option l'hatchilah. Now before anyone jumps down my throat, I'm not condemning single mothers. I know many and they are mostly a hard working, quietly suffering group of women dedicated to giving their children a decent start in this world. But I don't know any intelligent single mother who, given the choice of raising her children alone and doing it with a loving, male partner, would not choose the latter option. The idea that there are women out there who do not understand the stress that parenting involves, even when two adults share in the responsibility, must see children as mere accessories, things to show off to the neighbours and buy toys for instead of little human beings entrusted to them to raise and care for. How else to explain a desire to plunge headfirst and alone into the most stressful job in the world?
In this case, I hope the opinion of these Rabbonim is heard loud and clear so that children raised without all the benefits they might otherwise have had are avoided.


Bartley Kulp said...

I think that I am going in sane. On the one hand we make efforts to prevent single women from having an abortion. On the other hand we are condemning the efforts of some single woman to volunarily have a baby. This in a country that is suffering from a demographic problem.

One needs to examine the track record of single women who opt for getting artificial insemination. Usually they are older and they are usualy reletively well of financially.

These are also not necessarily women who are trying to have their cake and eat it too. Many of these women would probably like to be married but for whatever reason have not found a suitable match. May be they might be divorced, however they do not want to lose out in the opportunity to have a child.

Moreover they would usually be more appreciative of that child because they had to go through an extra ordeal to get them. I.V.F. is a physically and mentally difficult ordeal to endure. Someone who is willing to submit one's self to that means serious business of having a child.

Izgad said...

I can hear Michael Palin from Monty Python singing in the background.