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January 07, 1994 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-01-07

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7 5¢

24 TEVET 5754/JANUARY 7 , 1994


Fertility Issues


More than a few halachic and moral questions
are raised by recent medical revelations.



These mature women
won't slow down.

n P.D. Eastman's chil-
dren's story Are You My
Mother?, a small bird
falls from his nest in the
first days of life. Never
having seen his mother,
he approaches a cow, a
dog and a kitten, hoping
one will identify as the

Page 26


Organically Grown

Judy Goldstein's passions
come together.

Page 40

Auto '94

A look at what's hot in the
automotive world.



You Don't Say!

It's enticing. It's
naughty. It's gossip.

Page 73

Contents on page 3

lost parent.
Last week, this kind of question —
generally found only in imaginary tales
— crossed paths with modern technol-
ogy when a 59-year-old London resident,
using an egg donated by another worn-
an, gave birth to twins. (The egg was
fertilized by the birth mother's hus-
Several days later, a 61-year-old
Italian woman, Rossana Dalla Corte,
announced that she is pregnant — also
thanks to eggs from a younger donor —
and is likely to become the oldest wom-
an ever to give birth.
In recent years, halachic (Jewish law)
experts have had to address every sticky
medical issue from euthanasia to sex-
change operations. Generally, they
reach a consensus.
Yet this latest issue — using the eggs
of one woman to help impregnate an-
other — would leave anyone looking for
a definitive answer in a quandary.
"There's a great deal of discussion

Across the country, and in
Detroit, Jews are latching on
to the 1960s ideal of
egalitarian, communal,
religious experience through

Story page 42

about this," said Bais
Chabad of West
Bloomfield's Rabbi
Elimelech Silberberg,
an officer of the
Council of Orthodox
Rabbis. "But there's
no normative view-
There are numer-
ous halachic ques-
tions the procedure
raises, primary
among them being
the identity of the
mother. The obvious
question in the case of the 59-year-old
Londoner and Mrs. Dalla Corte, Rabbi
Silberberg noted, is "who is the mother?"
Pinpointing the mother's identity is
an issue because both Orthodox and
Conservative Jews hold that, other than
through conversion, a Jew is anyone born
of a Jewish mother. What, then, if the
baby is conceived using the eggs of a gen-
tile, but is carried and delivered by a
Jewish woman?
Furthermore, Halachah holds that
the biological tie between a child and a
parent stands no matter who raises that
child. Thus, an adopted son or daughter
must observe the commandment to "hon-
or your mother and father" for the bio-
logical parents, not just the adoptive

But it isn't only Halachah that recog-
nizes the inescapable tie between a bio-
logical parent and child.
Dr. Arthur Caplan is director of the
Center for Biomedical Ethics at the
University of Minnesota and a national
authority on medical ethics. Dr. Caplan
says that any definition of parenthood
must include who supplies the sperm and
who supplies the egg, and that this kind
of dual biological motherhood could pose
tremendous problems in the future.
With an older woman carrying a child
produced by the egg of another, "you're
basically using the woman as a surrogate


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