"Eat, Pray, IVF" (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. See how many enemies I've made with this bright "Let's all get together and talk religion" idea of mine.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right.  We discussed how Christianity, Hinduism and Islam feel about IVF. On to Judaism. There's nothing like ticking off your own people.So according to an article by Dr. Miryam Z. Wahrman in the Jewish Virtual Library, I'm not the first Jewish woman to have fertility issues: Apparently there are a slew of them in the Bible: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel...

Rachel, for instance, declared to her husband Jacob: "Give me children, otherwise I am dead."

The article suggests that this is because a childless person is as if they're dead.... Or perhaps Rachel was just being dramatic. I don't know the Bible. I just know my sistas.

Then Leah, Rachel's sister, got her hands on some plants which may have helped infertility but didn't want to share.

So poor desperate Rachel begged and whined and kvetched and told Leah that in return for some of them plants she would let her sister "know" her husband Jacob, just for one night, in a Biblical sort of way. 

Then, wouldn't you know it, Leah's fifth son was born nine months after Rachel got her plants.

And join us again tomorrow for "As the Old Testament Turns".

And, by the way, Rachel did get pregnant and had her son Joseph who grew up to become a big tadoo, a big macha: a pillar of the Egyptian community.

(For anyone who reads Spanish, pardon my spelling of the yiddish word "macha", which, for those of you who don't read Spanish means "lesbian". Let it be stated right here. I had no intention of calling Joseph a lesbian.)  

So, how does Judaism feel about IVF?

From what I've read: Not too bad.

As in the other religions we've discussed this week: IVF between a husband and wife. His stuff and her stuff, biologically speaking...is fine.

There is somewhat of an issue of how the sperm sample is going to be procured however. The "spilling of the seed" is not allowed. However, since it's not exactly being spilled but being used for procreation...all is dandy.

(Loophole you say?)

In the case of multiple embryos implanting in the uterus, ending the life of one or some of the fetuses is not considered murder...but it's not allowed either.

Selective reduction is only permitted if the doctor determines that if some weren't taken out, all of them would die.  (What doctor is going to look into his crystal ball and predict that?) 

There is also the issue of what to do with remaining frozen embryos. Of course the couple themselves using them to try for more children is fine.

Destruction of the embryos is not allowed BUT if they thaw on their own and are no longer viable...that would be okay.  (Another loophole you say?)

Donation of the extra embryos to another infertile couple isn't acceptable because, somewhere down the line (skeeve alert) you could inadvertently marry your genetic sibling.

Ancient times maybe. But nowadays couldn't you just say to the couple who got your embryos: "So, could you like text us every time you move for the next couple of decades? We kind of just want to keep track of who you are and where you're living".  

I've actually heard of genetic siblings inadvertently getting engaged...on Maury Povich. But it wasn't from embryo donation. It was from "Eighteen years ago, when Daddy told Mommy he was going to work, he should have gone."

Listen, I gotta go. I've got to go apologize to four different religions on five different continents.

If you have a spare sec: Check out this week's article in "The Health Experts". It's about how to (and not to) ask your doctor questions. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk with ya on Monday.