How absolutely early can a woman undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization) go to mikvah: is there a limit to the 7 deoraita days or is it even earlier like after five or six days, when she would still be in her deoraita nida days?

1 Answer 1


Questions like this certainly need discussion with an expert. And please contact the wonderful people at www.yoatzot.org, who will be happy to help you. But for theory's sake:

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (d. 1986) is of the opinion that there is no issue of having an IVF implanted, or even being artificially inseminated, during the nida period. The nida period only prohibits conventional relations.

His contemporary Yoel Teitelbaum, the Grand Rabbi of Satmar, vehemently disagreed and felt that neither a fertilized zygote (IVF) nor sperm (artificial insemination) could be implanted in a woman who hadn't get gone to the mikvah. (As heard from a Rabbi Rakeffet mp3. Here's Rabbi Breitowitz writing about the related question of donor sperm -- for artificial insemination or IVF -- as it relates to mamzerut, referencing HaMaor 15(9) for Teitelbaum's opinion, and Igros Moshe EH1:71 etc. for Feinstein's opinion otherwise. (It's said that Rabbi Feinstein got a brick through his window and disturbing phone calls from followers of Satmar because of his lenient view.)

Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz, who has published on fertility methods in halacha, has observed that you could draw the line between artificial insemination (which is closer to normal relations) and IVF, allowing the latter but not the former during nida days, but interestingly enough Feinstein allows both and Teitelbaum prohibits both.

Let me also clarify, because your question implies some confusion:

Normal period, original Biblical law: She begins her period on Sunday. That's Day 1. Saturday is Day 7. She is absolutely and completely a nida during this time no matter what happens. If she's confirmed that the bleeding is done by Saturday afternoon, she could go to mikvah Saturday night.

Biblical law on abnormal period, effectively what's done today in all cases: She waits five days or until her period ends, whichever is longer, and then counts seven clean days.

This means that going to the mikvah any earlier than 7 days from the start of a period accomplishes absolutely nothing whatsoever, from the perspective of halacha. Not at a rabbinic level, Biblical level, nothing.

Thus: according to Rabbi Feinstein, a woman undergoing IVF never goes to mikvah any earlier than she otherwise would (i.e. at least 12 days from the start of a period).

There are some contemporary rabbis in Israel who seek to accommodate Teitelbaum's opinion on some level, which would raise discussions of going to mikvah between days 7 and 12 solely for the purposes of IVF, but that would be discussed invididually.

  • i am not looking for a personal opinion to get a private response. i am looking for an open and honest discussion on the matter.
    – alice fine
    Oct 9, 2013 at 19:46
  • in theory, those who accomodate Teitelbaum's opinion (which is most or all in Israel Ashkenaz and Sephardic) for cases of IVF, how do they do that? I realize you are not interested in discussing this - so to anyone out there who has knowledge on the topic-a response would be appreciated.
    – alice fine
    Oct 10, 2013 at 10:25
  • @AliceFine I'm told that some in Israel would go to mikva after they've checked that bleeding has stopped and 7 days are over, have the IVF, but not touch their husbands until day 12+ and another immersion. That's how I heard it on an mp3 from Rabbi Rothkoff-Rakeffet, where he also said that in America no one ever does an immersion before day 12+. Regardless, these are questions that an expert needs to determine on a case-by-case basis.
    – Shalom
    Oct 10, 2013 at 12:43
  • @Shalom do you have a source for where the Satmar Rebbe says this?
    – Bochur613
    Oct 10, 2013 at 23:50
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    @alice "[I] do not, take what anyone says as law without checking for myself" So are you now an expert in Hilchot Tfilla, Shabbat, all the Chaggim and their Mitzvot, Shchita, Kashrut (including Basar beChalav, Taaruvot, Stam Yaynam, Hag'ala, Chadash etc.), Mezuza, Challah and if you live in Israel also Treifot, Terumot and Maaserot, and Ribbit? Perhaps by now you already know Kiddushin and Aveilut? The point is neither you nor just about anyone should view paskining Halacha as a DIY institution. You have to find others who know you who you trust and rely on them. But those people are not here.
    – Double AA
    Oct 11, 2013 at 14:45

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