Jewish Law, Scarcity of Sperm Donors and the Consequent Private Import of Sperm of Non-Jews by Israeli Women

Ya'Arit Bokek-Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Aim: The objective of this article is to explore how Israeli Jewish women cope with the religious prohibition on sperm donation and the scarcity of Israeli donors, and to estimate the number of available sperm donors in Israel. Methods: A key word search was employed to retrieve relevant Hebrew and English sources; additional information was collected via interviews with two sperm donors and twelve donor insemination patients. Results: Rabbinical instructions focus on married women and refrain from acknowledging the growing number of non-married donor insemination patients. Non-married women follow the restrictions relevant to married women and hence refrain from purchasing Jewish sperm. Israeli sperm banks offer donations of Jewish donors whose number is estimated at a maximum of 140 and a minimum of 50 for the entire Jewish population of 6.2 million. In order to abide by American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommendations, the number of available donors should optimally be six times larger. The scarcity of sperm donors drives the private import of American sperm donations. Conclusion: Reconsideration of the rabbinical prohibition to allow collecting sperm for donating to women who wish to have a baby is needed for the sake of increasing the donor pool, along with measures to ensure donors' privacy and dignity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-111
Number of pages7
JournalGynecologic and Obstetric Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

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© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.


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