The Guides:

Mazornet, Inc. is proud to present its newest guide to Judaism.

"Infertility - A Jewish Perspective"
Rivka C. Berman
Yael Rosenberg, Editor 

An attempt is made to present the perspective of the major streams of Judaism in an effort to deem this guide practical and its resources helpful to all Jews.




Using the Husband Sperm

Most orthodox Rabbis do not object to artificial insemination using a husband’s sperm. The only constraint is the way the sperm from the husband is obtained.  The same rules for the mode of sperm collection that are set for sperm testing apply for artificial insemination by husband.  Conservative rabbis permit masturbation for production of semen for artificial insemination of the man’s wife. 


Using the Donor Sperm

Conceiving by donated sperm and/or ovum is tricky in the eyes of Jewish law, and the question has been the source of many modern-day questions posed to Jewish legal code experts.


Some orthodox rabbis construe artificial insemination of a married woman with a donor’s sperm as akin to adultery, deeming the children born as a result of this procedure “mamzerim,” which are children born of certain forbidden relationships between two Jews. Mamzerim include ones born from a married woman as a product of adultery or those born as a product of incest between certain close relatives. Other orthodox rabbis do not consider artificial insemination by donor adultery per se, since sexual relations had not occurred, however they still proclaim it an abomination and strongly discourage it.  One of the great issues that arise is the possibility for incestuous relationship between siblings. Since the donor is usually unknown, children produced by the artificial insemination might marry children of the donor and his wife, thus coupling with their biological half sister or brother.  This is why Orthodox Rabbis in general prohibit artificial insemination by donor.


Conservative Judaism takes a different stance than the Orthodox regarding artificial insemination by donor.  Conservative Rabbis agree that the insemination by a donor does not constitute adultery.  With regard to the possibility of incest of the subsequent generation, these rabbis strongly recommend that as much of the donor’s medical history and personal characteristics should be revealed to the social father and the child.


Reform rabbis disagree with the concerns raised by the Orthodox and Conservative Judaism that there might be a possibility for a child conceived through artificial insemination by donor to marry his biological sibling.  They believe that the likelihood of this happening is too farfetched to be a concern.


Prayers Before Insemination

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin recommends, in her book Tears of Sorrow, Seeds of Hope, several biblical verses to be said at the time of the procedure.   One of them, aptly from the account of Creation, “And God said: Let the waters swam with all sorts of swarming  things, that beat with the pulse of life… And God blessed them, and said: ‘Be fertile and grow and fill the waters with life.’” (Genesis 1:20,22)


Conservative and Reform Rabbis differ in opinion from the Orthodox point of view.  Read more about the different therapies and the Jewish Perspective of the major streams of Judaism: