Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Health minister allows artificial insemination for ‘chained’ women

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz changed his ministry’s policies on Tuesday to give so-called “chained women” access to artificial insemination and other fertility treatments, following years of efforts by activists.

Until now, such options were all but off-limits for “chained” women — whose husbands refuse to grant them a divorce, or get in Hebrew, leaving them in a tragic state of religious and legal limbo — as Health Ministry guidelines required the consent of a married woman’s partner before she could use them, which they were unlikely to request or receive from their divorce-refusing husbands.

This week, Horowitz revised those guidelines, despite stiff opposition from the Chief Rabbinate, the Walla news site reported.


  1. Sounds like a mamzer situation.

  2. Not necessarily.
    What are the criteria for a person being labeled a "mamzer"?

  3. Sometimes the issue is where the sperm is coming from but in this case, that wouldn't matter because she's married so any sperm, even from a single guy, is a problem.

  4. Can you prove that, even if there was no physical coitus with the married woman, the child would still be a Mamzer, just because his mother was artificially impregnated with someone's sperm?
    Note: This is a loaded question.

  5. The whole controversy between RMF and the Satmar was over this issue - the Satmar prohibited all artificial insemination, RMF permitted it if the sperm was from the husband.

  6. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 20, 2022 at 7:57 PM

    The problem was rmf permitted it from someone other than the husband, I think it had to be a non jew.

  7. You have your facts wrong.

    Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote a responsa, in which he allowed, in principle, the use of donor sperm. He emphasized, that he is discouraging this in practice, however if a woman is suffering greatly from not being able to bear a biological child, and the husband agrees, they may use a donor, as long as the donor is not Jewish.

    According to Rabbi Feinstein, the Torah prohibition of adultery and the resulting categorization of the resulting child as a “mamzer”, are only incurred via conventional relations; artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization are not included. Thus, if a married Jewish man has fertility issues, his wife may be artificially inseminated by some other male donor, as long as he is not a Yehudi.

    Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, of Satmar, vehemently disagreed. He insisted that any product of a Jewish married woman and another man's sperm constituted adultery, and the offspring would be a “mamzer”. In his viewpoint, R. Moshe Feinstein was allowing the equivalent of adultery, and causing more “mamzerim” to come into the world.

    In another comment, I’ve discussed the debate; and its relevance today:

  8. That is fascinating.
    I did not know about any of this.

  9. According to your description of Rav Moshe's reasoning and view, it should also be okay for the donor to be Jewish. Why not?

  10. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 23, 2022 at 2:26 AM

    there could be the issue of safeik there, if the donor is Jewish.

  11. Please learn the relevant Teshuvos. Then, we can talk.

  12. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 23, 2022 at 3:50 PM

    I just want to examine this a bit further:

    In such a situation as you describe, if the husband objects to this procedure, but the wife is adamant and starts to go ahead with it, does the husband have grounds for divorce in halacha? Obviously, he can divorce any time he wishes, and write a get when he decides he has had enough - but as far as I know, he has to give reasons for the divorce in the BD?


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