Rabbi Burstein. Parenthood at any cost?
Photo: Kobi Nahshoni
Rabbi Menachem Burstein, head of the Jewish fertility organization Puah Institute, said Thursday that "there is not one rabbinical religious authority in the world allowing a single woman to give birth."
Speaking during an event at the Ono Academic College, Rabbi Burstein claimed that Rabbi Yuval Cherlow has reconsidered an approval given in the past to a single woman approaching the age of 40 to get pregnant from a sperm donation.
"Rabbi Cherlow said he would go back on his ruling if Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein told him to do so, and he did go back on it," Rabbi Burstein claimed.
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Rabbi Cherlow, however, refused to approve or deny this claim. "Those who want to know my stand on this matter should turn to me," he told Ynet.
Rabbi Burstein spoke during a conference held under the title, "Parenthood at any cost?" The rabbi presented the halachic problem in giving a sperm donation to a single woman.
"All the efforts we are making for treatments and insemination are aimed at starting a family, and here the framework of the family is damaged," he said. "Judaism does not permit one person's happiness at the expense of another, and it has been proven that a child born to a single woman from in vitro insemination suffers greatly."
Rabbi Burstein added that his institute was dealing these days with the matter of marriage between homosexuals and lesbians.
The conference was hosted by Dr. Gil Segal, head of the Center for Health Law and Bioethics at the Ono Academic Collage. Dr. Segal noted that Israel was "fertility power, leading the global front in the birth of biological children."
He spoke of the current state of affairs, saying that adoption in Israel was the last choice, and that the Jewish state was fourth in the world in artificial insemination. He noted, however, that there was a trend of seeking "the perfect child", and that 98% of the requests for an abortion are approved, with the reasons for this move varying and including non-fundamental defects.