Yeshivat Orot Shaul, Ra'anana

Online Torah

Beit Hamidrash

Don´t use dead man´s sperm

By: Rav Yuval Cherlow

Rav cherlow says deceased should be commemorated in variety of other ways, but not by generating fatherless offspring

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, head of the Petah Tikva hesder yeshiva, says frozen sperm must not be used for insemination purposes if its owner is no longer alive. 

According to the rabbi, the deceased should be commemorated in a variety of other ways, but not by generating offspring who will be born fatherless.

Rav Cherlow, who is considered an expert on ethics and Halacha, in the medical field as well, and is a member of different committees dealing with these issues, was asked by a reader on the Petah Tikva hesder yeshiva's website: "One of my relatives died at a young age, without having children. We know he had his sperm frozen. What should be done so that his name is not erased?" 

The rabbi replied, "It's a real pity, (but) I believe it won't be right to use this sperm. His name can be commemorated by naming other newborns after him, by studying Torah and by doing justice for the transcendence of his soul."

Rav Cherlow stressed that this was his own stance and that "there is a possibility to think differently". He explained why using a dead person's sperm for insemination was "wrong" in his opinion.

"My fundamental halachic and ethical stance is that medical technologies are there to deal with defects found in nature but not to invent new realities. Thus, I see no room for using a person's sperm after his death."