Childless Hope: Examining Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Ultra-Orthodox Judaism
This project is a Religious Studies and Bioethics paper examining assisted reproductive technologies in Ultra-Orthodox Judaism. The commandment, “be fruitful and multiply” is very important to Ultra-Orthodox Judaism. As it is a prescribed commandment from the Torah, the inability to procreate can be seen as embarrassing or shameful among married couples in the community. This paper addresses the permissibility of artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and surrogacy among Ultra-Orthodox Jews. It also, on a larger level, examines how Ultra-Orthodox Judaism engages with modern medical technologies. It uses case studies and contemporary rabbinic opinion to work through the different reproductive technology and the challenges that it poses. It is important to acknowledge that many of the assisted reproductive technologies come with challenges and restrictions. The issue is further complicated when examining egg storage and donation, an important aspect of assisted reproductive technologies. With the growing biotechnologies available, some of them may be at odds with traditionalist religious communities, such as Ultra-Orthodox Judaism. This project has significance for examining how traditionalist communities adapt to modern technologies.
Thesis Supervisor: Prof. Meaghan O’Keefe