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The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

Fertility Services for the Jewish and Orthodox Jewish Communities

By Paula Hovell on March 20, 2020

A baby's hand around a woman's fingerProviding personalized care, our fertility center helps couples of every background realize their dreams of starting or expanding their families.

For Jewish and Orthodox Jewish couples whose religion asks of them to be “fruitful and multiply,” having difficulty conceiving can feel particularly stressful. This can lead couples to consider fertility treatments, but also wonder how such treatments will fit with their religious practices.

At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, we respect religious concerns and offer fertility services for the Jewish and Orthodox Jewish community in Los Angeles, CA, and the neighboring Tarzana and Bakersfield areas, that follow the requirements of Jewish law.

Fertility Treatment and Halacha

Halacha, or Jewish religious laws, guide many aspects of life for Jewish couples, including sexual intercourse and fertility treatment.

Although Halacha can complicate fertility treatment, it doesn't have to. Our doctors provide fertility tests and treatments under the guidelines of Jewish laws. The following are some examples of common concerns for our Jewish patients and how fertility treatment is tailored to meet their unique needs.

Taharat Mishpacha and Mikvah

For some couples, their fertility issues may be related to the practice of Taharat Mishpacha, in which a woman may not have physical contact with her husband during menstruation and seven days after. Before having physical relations again, the woman must purify herself in a ritual bath, or mikvah.

This can make it difficult for some couples to conceive, particularly if the woman ovulates before going to the mikvah. As a result, couples miss the window in which the woman is most fertile, making it difficult to conceive.

One way to help couples overcome this fertility issue is through treatments that delay ovulation and shorten menstruation.

Sperm Collection

Collecting sperm from Orthodox males is another consideration for many Jewish couples seeking fertility treatment. Rules prohibiting masturbation does not mean sperm can't be collected.

A special collection device, much like a condom, can be worn during intercourse, or sperm can be collected from the woman after intercourse.

Planning Treatment Around the Sabbath

On the Sabbath, Orthodox couples are prohibited from doing work which comes in many forms, including signing documents, using an elevator, and carrying things from one place to another, all of which are necessary for fertility treatments, like in vitro fertilization, or IVF.

When undergoing fertility treatment, the Sabbath can be respected by planning treatment around this day. For example, a woman's cycle can be adjusted through medications so that something like egg retrieval can be scheduled for a weekday. Additionally, any other appointments or processes in fertility treatment can be scheduled to avoid the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.

Working with Rabbis

Rabbis are integral to the Jewish faith and, while many are accepting of fertility treatment, it's not uncommon for a rabbi to want to make sure fertility treatments are performed under the guidelines of Jewish law.

In such cases, an observer, or mashgicha, may be requested by the couple's rabbi to be a witness in the lab when the sperm and egg are combined. The maschgicha will watch to ensure the procedure was done in accordance with Jewish practices.

Learn More about Our Fertility Services

If you have questions about fertility services for Jewish and Orthodox Jewish couples, please call (818) 617-2139 to schedule a consultation. Our doctors are happy to accommodate treatment to your unique needs in your journey to growing your family.

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