See here for the background. The basic idea is that the DNA is taken from the mother and father, but rather than traditional IVF, the nucleus is implanted in a donor egg. So there is no male donor involved, the only a male is the husband. (The purpose is to prevent transmission of genetic diseases transmitted in the mitochondria from the mother by replacing the mitochondria from the mother with that of the donor. Mitochondria is DNA provided exclusively from the mother outside the nucleus). So:

1) What would be the Halachic permissibly of doing this?

2) Would the egg donor female affect the Jewishness of the child?

Of course this isn't a question that will have been discussed until very recently if at all, but I thought it would be an interesting question to see what relevant sources might inform the discussion.

So the question is really, what sources would provide insight into the above questions?

  • "The purpose is to prevent transmission of genetic diseases from the mother": you mean from the egg donor? The mother (i.e., the one you called "the mother" in the first sentence) would have genetic diseases passed to the child. – msh210 Sep 20 '12 at 18:08
  • @msh210, you see the same article I do, but my understanding is that the immediate technique is about cutting damaged mitochondria out, so the addition of the donor egg without nucleus is to provide a small portion of the DNA, the major portion coming from the mother. But the article does go on to say that theoretically the female donor could provide the nucleus, but that is really very similar to being a surrogate mother. Yes I am using mother to mean the one that provides (most of) the female side of the DNA, but also the one who carries the baby. – Yishai Sep 20 '12 at 18:17
  • No, I hadn't read the article. I was hoping to understand it from your treatment of "[t]he basic idea". – msh210 Sep 20 '12 at 18:41
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    @msh210, fair enough, I expanded my description in the question. – Yishai Sep 20 '12 at 18:49
  • Would an answer concerning classic surrogate motherhood be helpful? Where an entire egg is donated and implanted in another woman's womb fertilized by her husband. I have a few maareh makomos on that one. – user6591 Feb 4 '15 at 4:42

This is not an area I am particularly conversant in but HaRav Asher Weiss shlita (author of the Minchas Asher) discusses this issue and if I am following everything correctly he says there is basis to permit such a procedure when there is a risk of serious disease but each case must be considered independently. It is his opinion that the donor of the mitochondria is not regarded as a parent and the child is Jewish (in this procedure it seems that the egg itself is from the (in our case Jewish) mother...not a "donor" per se). Nevertheless it is explained that the donor of the mitochondria should not be Jewish, following the general practice in such donations. Likewise it is advisable to preform a conversion out of doubt, although the child will NOT have the status of a convert and may, for example, marry a kohen.


See article on the matter: http://chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/536755/jewish/In-Vitro-Fertilization-IVF.htm

The general consensus in Halacha (see footnote #4, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sephardic chief Rabbi of Israel, and Rabbi of the 'Machon Puah' Fertility Institute in Israel) is that the child must go through a proper Giyur.

  • The case in the article discusses the more classic case where the female genetic material is entirely not from the mother. The case in the question is different. Of course being stringent is always an option ... – Yishai Feb 3 '15 at 22:59

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