Saturday, May 25, 2019

How a DNA Testing Kit Revealed a Family Secret Hidden for 54 Years

In 1961, my parents, Orthodox Jews who married later in life, were having trouble conceiving. My father was part of a large family that took seriously the commandment to be fruitful and multiply. My mother, nearing 40, was desperate to have a child. They went to the now long-defunct Farris Institute for Parenthood near the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. There, they were told that a “treatment” was available to help solve my dad’s infertility. A practice of the day was to mix donor sperm with the intended father’s sperm, in order to keep alive the possibility that the child was biologically his. There was a commonly used term for this: confused artificial insemination.


  1. R' Moshe Feinstein z"l addressed this issue in Shut Iggros Moshe (EH 1:71) where he decries the notion of adding donor sperm to the intended father’s sperm, and calling it a "booster". He calls it "fraud", since the husband is made to believe that his sperm was instrumental in the pregnancy.
    מה שמוסיפים לזרע של איש זה, מזרע איש אחר, שקוראים "בוסטער", הוא רק ענין רמאות להשקיט רוח בעל האשה, שיחשוב שהולד גם הוא מזרע שלו, והוא אביו, אבל באמת אינו כלום...

  2. confused artificial insemination.
    The satmar Rebbe stated on this matter Momzer vadai

    and vehemently opposed all manner of artificial insemination even so much as to require a get from a womans who does this even with permision from her husband

  3. Kalonymus AnonymusMay 29, 2019 at 12:46 PM

    If there is another man involved...

  4. R' Moshe Feinstein disagreed with the Satmar Rebbe, and patiently defended his psak in numerous teshuvos.

    "How right he was"
    What are you basing your comment on?
    Did you ever bother to learn the sugya with the Rishonim?
    Did you ever bother to learn ALL R' Moshe's teshuvos on the subject?

  5. Key word here is "artificial".
    Read the teshuva that I referenced.


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