In early September, Israel’s health ministry revealed that a genetic test that was performed on a pregnant woman who underwent embryo retrieval from an in vitro fertilization (IVF), it was discovered that she is carrying an embryo that was not genetically compatible with her and her partner.
Earlier this week, the woman gave birth and both she and the biological parents expressed their strong desire to keep and raise the baby (it’s a girl).
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau on Thursday issued a ruling siding with the birth mother, saying: “My position is that the surrogate mother who gives birth to the child should be viewed as its biological mother. So, in our case, the birth mother is the mother of the girl.”
Rabbi Lau acknowledged that there are contrary halakhic opinions that say the owner of the egg is the rightful mother, and also value the sperm donor’s share in the baby. His interest, however, has more to do with preventing future relations between the newborn girl and her siblings from the egg and sperm donors.
Normally, halakhic poskim recommend Jewish IVF be done with non-Jewish sperm donors precisely for that reason.
Rabbi Lau also recommended parents use the services of IVF facilities with continuous rabbinic supervisors who monitor employees to prevent mishaps.