Re: Surrogate Mothers

Paul Claman (
Sun, 09 Feb 1997 23:11:55 -0500

Moishe Rosenberg asked:
<< I would greatly appreciate any guidance in obtaining material on the
subject of surrogate mothers and the halachic issues involved. If any one
knows where I can track down any articles written on this subject please
contact me ASAP. I need this information to assist my wife and I in
preparing a talk in our local study group >>

Rabbi David Bleich in his regular column in Tradition Magazine
reviewing Recent Halachic Literature, published a full review on the topic
of the definition of motherhood in Halacha vis a vis a number of questions
in lieu of New Reproductive Technologies. I have the artilcle in my files at
the office if you need the reference but it was published in the late
1980's or early 1990's. If you need the reference please write me at:

In his review it is clear that the prime mother is the mother who gives
birth to the child. There is however an aspect of motherhood due to the
woman who contributed the egg likely relevant to whom the resultant
child could marry. However, it seems that eg. the definition of jewishness
would be from the woman who gives birth. Rabbi Moshe Tendler also
provided me this opinion on personal communication.

Furthermore, this is very different than the definition of fatherhood which
clearly comes from the provider of the sperm.

It seems the process of motherhood is complete and defined at the birth of
the child where as fatherhood is defined at conception. Rabbi Bleich's
review supplies a fine scholarly review of the subject with references to
primary halachic and Talmudic sources.

Paul Claman MD
Director, IVF-ET Clinic
University of Ottawa, Canada