Will my kid be Jewish?
April 11, 2020 9:24 PM   Subscribe

Help me understand the ancient rules for a modern world

I am currently pregnant through the miracle of an agnostic egg donor and my husband's sperm. Amen to that. I'm Jewish, my uterus is Jewish, but the woman who's egg that created this baby is not. What does the rabbinical world say about my child? Will they be auto-magically Jewish?
posted by gillianr to Religion & Philosophy (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would consult a rabbi, to confirm, but I believe that it's the Jewish status of the person carrying the baby in their uterus that matters, not the egg donor.

In the case of a surrogate carrier, the child could be converted when young, as with adoptions.
posted by jb at 9:34 PM on April 11, 2020

in general, yes, it's the status of the person who gives birth to the child that controls.

However "the rabbinical world" is extremely not monolithic, and if your rabbi's opinion matters to you, you must ask for it. I'm guessing you are unaffiliated, in which case you might as well go with the most common opinion for non-orthodox rabbis, which is the one I mentioned.


eta: here is a discussion.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:39 PM on April 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

According to the rabbi I grew up with, who talked about this with regards to the child of a family friend who had the same situation as your baby during my confirmation classes (so this was in a reform synagogue on the east coast of the US in 1999-2000) your baby is automagically Jewish. The uterus gives the Jewishness. The Jewterus, if you will. But as is their way, rabbis will vary.
posted by Mizu at 12:03 AM on April 12, 2020 [39 favorites]

According to Jewish Law, a non-Jewish child must be informed that they have been adopted and also converted to Judaism. ... However, at the age of bar/bat mitzvah, the child has the right to either reaffirm or protest the conversion.
posted by parmanparman at 1:06 AM on April 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

According to Jewish Law, a non-Jewish child must be informed that they have been adopted and also converted to Judaism. ...

The child in question is not non-Jewish. The child will be born of a Jewish mother and thus, is Jewish.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:48 AM on April 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Last time I checked, there was both variation in the answer to this question and some shift away from everyone agreeing that it’s based on the gestational mother to some holding that it’s based on the genetic mother.

If it’s important to you to have your baby recognized as Jewish by a particular community, you have to check their responsa. If it’s important to you to have them recognized as Jewish by every possible community, then you’re in a variation of a ‘frummest common denominator’ situation. Those can be emotionally and logistically very trying.
posted by Salamandrous at 4:09 AM on April 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Orthodox here. The latest halachic opinions have been trending toward having a non-Jewish donor egg as preferable, so there's no chance of later offspring accidentally marrying a sibling. Regardless of the donor egg, among rabbis who accept the practice as acceptable in the first place, it's pretty universally agreed on at this point that the gestational mother is what determines this.
posted by Mchelly at 6:10 AM on April 12, 2020 [12 favorites]

Most Rabbinical responses to in-vitro births focus on the question of exactly how the sperm was produced by the husband (and other drashe that continue to delight and interest fifteen year old Yeshiva students around the world...) but this has a lot of info and may be of interest: The Use of Cryopreserved Sperm and Pre-embryos In Contemporary Jewish Law and Ethics
posted by zaelic at 10:53 PM on April 12, 2020

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