For the past months, I have entertained the prospect of becoming a father to my own child, not through adoption but rather, via the services of an egg donor and a surrogate host that will carry this child to term, birth it and then give it over to me. I know this sounds strange, but there is a huge populace of older singles who do not anticipate meeting their ‘bashert’ but still want to have a child and to raise it with help of family members and friends.
I am a fifty-three-year-old male, a Kohain, and, after speaking with others in my position who face the reality of not ever finding my life partner (and even if we did, these women are already beyond child-bearing age), the undercurrent immerged that many of us would dearly love to have a child of our own. Since you have championed so many causes, I ask for your help in making this a reality for and possibly, a large number of other men and women in this position. I know I would make a wonderful father to my child, as I have helped raise many nieces and nephews who view me as something more than an uncles, much like a secondary father, when they need advice, moral support or help of any kind.
I have a great many questions, both halachic and moral that I need to explore, such as would I be transgressing on any halochos, or committing sins of any kind, as well as locating an facility that is credible in describing the religious orientation of their egg donors so as to assure that my donor is Jewish. Also, I need to know whether the surrogate needs to be Jewish and whether, if she is not could my child be converted at the age of twelve for a girl and thirteen for a boy. I also need to know that if the child is a male, could he receive the Kehunah status from me?
This has become a very real desire for me, and I know that you will help me find the answer I need, because I am determined to go through with this while I can still be in the best of health to be an active and vibrant parent to my child. I do not want to leave this world without having tasted the joys of true fatherhood, loving, playing and teaching my own offspring while I still can. Your reply is probably the most important information I, and many others like me are awaiting to hear, so I hope you will agree to partner in this venture with us. You have helped the agunos, you have championed for the abused and you have gone to bat for the lonely, the old and the homeless. Now, please help us, the singles who dream of having a child of our own to love and raise. I look forward to reading your reply and thank you in advance for caring.
I have heard rumbling undercurrents in the single community in the past regarding this issue, but somehow, your plea hit home. I felt the indescribable yearning to have a child in spite of all the obstacles that will present themselves. So I called on my posek to answer as many of the questions that you broached and am awaiting his written reply to send to you and anyone who is entertaining the same thoughts. As I have not as yet received the written missive addressing the issues you broached I can only tell you that according to my Rav, their is nothing halachically barring a man to impregnate an egg in a petri dish, have it implanted into a surrogate who will carry it to term, birth it and then relinquish it to your care. There is no inyan of physical relations with a test tube or lab related process to bring forth life, and therefore, no laws of conception are broken. I hope to have his written reply, which I will publish, just as soon as it is available.
There are other circumstances that you might want to give deeper thought and attention to before you throw yourself into this project, to better understand that you are bringing a life into being that might turn out to be adversely affected by your somewhat selfish desire. You are now fifty-three years old, the age of most grandfathers, how do you perceive your child feeling when his friends and classmates poke fun at him or her? How will you explain to this child that he or she has no physical mother to call ‘mommy’ because they were conceived in a test tube or petri dish? A child needs both a mother and a father, as each one is designed to give the child precisely what they need to develop and grow into functional adulthood. Which begs the question of how old will you be when this child reaches the age of twenty, probably seventy-five, if not older? Have you also taken into consideration that the gift of life may not last as long as you anticipate, leaving the child an orphan to be raised and cared for by whom?
I truly understand your desire to have a child, but unless you make proper provisions for every and any eventuality, you will be short-changing someone. Please hold off until I can provide you with the Rav’s explanation and a proper addressing of any and all issues regarding this endeavor.
To be continued…