What are the halachic concerns surrounding vasectomies? Are vasectomies permitted by halacha under any circumstances?

The issues that I could see as possibly being connected would be chavala (prohibition against inflicting harm to self or others), lo titgodedu and possibly even shmiras habris. On the other side, a vasectomy could be psychologically beneficial to a wife who has trouble with birth control, and could potentially help ensure shalom bayis.

From this question on plastic surgery, which I believe is somewhat related: "This is one of the major concerns voiced by Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg, author of Tzitz Eliezer, a multivolume set of responsa, much of which deals with medical issues. First, Rabbi Waldenberg29 objects to performing surgery on someone who is neither sick nor in pain. 30 He argues that such activities are outside the boundaries of the physician's mandate to heal (since he questions whether cosmetic surgery is truly included in the category of healing). He further asserts that the patient has no right to ask the physician to wound him or her for the purposes of merely enhancing beauty. Rabbi Waldenberg then makes the theological argument that as the ultimate artisan, God creates each person in His image, exactly as he or she should be, with nothing extra nor anything lacking. He therefore posits that cosmetic surgery that is not for pain or true illness is an affront to God and is forbidden."


2 Answers 2


To quote the Aish Rabbi:

According to Jewish law, a vasectomy is absolutely forbidden.

And for sources for more info:

Maimonides (Laws of Forbidden Relations, Chapter 16), and in the Code of Jewish Law (Even Ha'ezer, Chapters 5 and 16)

And there may even be problems with getting married and/or remaining married with one.

((I noticed that you used the phrase "under any circumstances." Perhaps if the man's life were in danger if he did not have one -- it would be permissible -- but I have absolutely no source. CYLOR))


The Gemara in Yevamos says that it is a biblical prohibition. This is based on the passuk which forbids castrating an animal.

  • 6
    Source in yevamos and the pasuk would be nice.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 5:30
  • 1
    So, by extension, is a Jew forbidden from performing a vasectomy on a non-Jew? Also, what if a Jew's vasectomy is performed by a non-Jew? Then is it OK?
    – SAH
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 16:22

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