Tziporah, an Israeli 35-year-old single religious woman, decided to harvest some of her eggs in case she decides to start a family later on when her eggs might be less viable. Tzi-Porah, the title of her blog, is a play on the Hebrew word porah, meaning fertile.
In a recent post, she writes about meeting with her doctor, who recommended harvesting the eggs in either Spain or Israel.
Tziporah already knew that she wanted her eggs supervised by the Puah Institute, but she could get this service in either country. Puah’s female supervisor is present during the entire process of harvesting and freezing, and closes the test tube with a seal. If Tziporah chooses to defrost the eggs, the Institute would need to give approval.
Tzipora laid out the pros and cons of harvesting her eggs in the two countries:
Egg harvesting in Spain: Spain is considered a world leader in the field of preservation and freezing of eggs, with state-of-the-art laboratories. The procedure is cheaper for Israelis while the Euro is low, but Tziporah would have to pay her doctor more to accompany her. Based on current prices, Spain came out a little cheaper. If Tziporah chose to use the eggs in the future, she would have to pay for their transport back to Israel. She considered making the trip to Spain as part of a vacation, and even found a friend who would accompany her.
Egg harvesting in Israel: The procedure costs more, but the doctor’s salary costs less with no plane tickets required. The labs are approaching Spain’s medical standards. Tzipora’s own doctor would do the harvesting, whereas in Spain he would only supervise. The clinic’s staff would speak Hebrew, reducing Tzipora’s her stress.
While Tzipora preferred to do the procedure here, she also felt that once she was paying so much perhaps she should get the best.
She then writes:
All that I am doing is hishtadlut (making an effort). According to Judaism, one must put forth effort in every area, knowing that the final results are not in his hands but in the hands of the Holy One, Blessed be He. So where is the borderline of hishtadlut? How much do we have to jump through hoops? There is no simple answer. Everyone sets the border according to his own level of faith.
Even in Spain, mistakes could occur. If God wants the process to succeed, it will succeed in Israel too.
Tziporah couldn’t come to a decision so her cousin suggested speaking to the head of Puah, Rabbi Boorstein. In typical Jewish geography fashion, Tziporah’s cousin found a way to get in touch with him over the holiday of Sukkot. The cousin belongs to a forum along with the wife of a close friend of Rabbi Boorstein’s son. Tziporah spoke to this friend, who then called Rabbi Boorstein, who then called Tzipora directly.
After he heard her dilemma, Rabbi Boorstein said that a year ago, he would have told her to go to Spain. But since there has been so much progress here, he advised her to do the procedure in Israel at least the first time. [Apparently many women do the procedure more than once.] That way she will learn about the procedure and how it affects her body, while in comfortable surroundings. The government limits harvest to 20 eggs. If Tziporah decides to repeat the procedure, Rabbi Boorstein recommended doing it in Spain. But at that point she would know what to expect.
He added that Puah Institute helps older women with shidduchim, by reassuring marriage prospects concerned with fertility that the procedure can bring a couple ten children. But usually, he joked, the young man is willing to stop after 3 children.
Tziporah decided to do the harvesting in Israel. You can follow her progress at her Hebrew blog, Tzi-Porah.