Before I ask my question I just want to inform you that at the moment I am not asking for a definitive psak halacha, I am just doing some preliminary research – I will not be implementing any of this without significant further research and deliberation.
I am a 40 year old single woman from an Orthodox Jewish background. My question is regarding IVF for single women. I've heard that some women have done it within the framework of Halacha. From what I understand they were required to use sperm from a non–
Jewish donor because of a) fear of siblings marrying at a later date b) prohibition of zera levatalah for a Jew. However unlike IVF for married woman there would be no problem of mamzeirus (when using Jewish sperm donor) as a single woman is not an eishes ish. So I am wondering if there is a way to circumvent the other issues with a Jewish sperm donor. Perhaps one could use "left over" sperm cells from a married Jew who has provided it for IVF with his wife. And one could be aware of his identity to prevent any problematic marriage later on.
I know I'm missing lots of information, But I'm wondering about this and (aside for the issues of raising a child without a father plus other possible halachic issues) the idea of using a random non-Jewish sperm donor just stops me in my tracks. With so many single women and so few men, I think many more women are thinking about or will be thinking about the option of having a child on their own, so this may be a new halachic frontier. And perhaps there's a way to do it with a Jewish sperm donor.
Thanks for your help,
Indeed, the question is becoming more common. The are two facets to the question; the hard-core halachic issues and the value question, which relates to balancing two of the most important Jewish values: the strong desire and urge for motherhood and the notion of a complete family.
Your suggestion, to procure leftover sperm from a Jewish man who provided it for IVF with his wife, would solve some of the technical halachic issues.
However, you must verify the informed consent of the Jewish donor; you must also verify whether this is pragmatically and legally possible.
While some Orthodox rabbis view IVF for older single women as a fully viable option, the consensus view is to discourage such a practice as a societal breach of the fundamental family structure. This is also the view of Machon Puah, see response by Rav Udi Roth. Instead, they urge freezing eggs to afford additional time to find a proper spouse.
Nonetheless, there are some exceptional cases. This requires personal consultation, with a Rav well-versed in this area of halacha, who knows you and your community personally.