Gestational surrogacy is an option for a woman who cannot carry to term a fetus in her own womb. The woman donates her embryo, which was resulted from fertilization in vitro, to a second woman, the gestational surrogate, who carries the fetus and gives birth. While this is an innovative procedure that helps infertile couples have children, there are several problems discussed in the literature about surrogacy. Even though extensive research has been conducted on the biology and halacha behind surrogacy, there is still no clear-cut answer of the halachic status of the baby and the identity of the mother – the egg donor or the gestational carrier. Rabbinic authorities have debated the identity of the halachic mother of the child. Also of concern is whether it is better for the surrogate to be a Jewish or a non-Jewish woman. This paper aims to define the role of both the birth mother and the genetic mother to more fully understand the surrogacy process as a whole.
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