Keep Your Frozen Eggs Kosher

lots of brown and white eggsShould single, religious women in their 30’s be encouraged to freeze their eggs, preserving their fertility for a few more years? This was the topic at a conference yesterday on the technology and ethics of single women in their 30’s freezing their eggs for later use.

Update: Rabbi Yuval Cherlow explains why freezing eggs is not a viable solution.

A while ago, the government approved subsidizing the harvest and freezing of human eggs. This is helpful for single women who want to avoid infertility should they decide to try and conceive in their late 30’s and 40’s, when the quality and quantity of their eggs decreases sharply.

Dina Kazhdan, a Jerusalem social worker, organized a conference for religious women who were considering freezing their eggs. “In religious society people don’t like to talk about physical problems. If a woman mentions an egg, people look at her like she spoke about a sex organ.” She encourages single women to freeze their eggs before it’s too late.

Rabbi Menachem Boorstein of the Puah fertility institute, who spoke at the conference, explained that single women who wish to become pregnant via sperm donation face halachic problems.  He presents the option of freezing eggs is seen as a solution for women who marry later. The health ministry allows women to implant their frozen eggs until age 54.

Rabbi Boorstein:

We are recommending that every single woman over age 32 freeze her eggs. I recommend that anyone who can afford it, should do it in Spain, because here there is not enough knowledge in the field. But if she waits a year or two, I believe the knowledge will accumulate. I intend to suggest that women freeze their eggs under halachic supervision, meaning that she won’t be able to use the eggs unless she marries.

Rabbi Boorstein believes that egg donation will make older women into more attractive shidduch prospects, as many men refuse to date women who have reached their late 30’s. When Rabbi Boorstein encounters a couple concerned about the woman’s age, he promises to help them have ten children if they wish. Eighty-two percent of these couples had a baby naturally, and the rest used a donated egg. “Usually it’s the man who gives up on the idea of having ten,” Boorstein notes.

Kashdan should be commended for bringing this issue to light, and it’s something for single women to consider whether they are religious or not. I wonder, though, about placing eggs under halachic supervision. It sounds like Rabbi Boorstein is afraid that women will change their minds about waiting for marriage before having a baby. If this is the only reason, it makes sense for women to keep their options open to avoid messiness later.

You may also enjoy:

Single Religious Woman on Harvesting Eggs

Kattan: Large Families Yes, Demanding Careers No

Single Motherhood in the Orthodox Community

Is There a “Shidduch Crisis”?

Fearful Parents Promote Young Marriage

Photo: La Tangerina


  1. I’ve never met an unmarried Orthodox woman over 25, save for a couple of very young widows, so I never thought it was such an issue. However, should it be, why not? Loads of families begin late or are a combined situation. Plus, with people so paranoid about age related Trisomy 21, I say go for it.

  2. I, too, would be very hesitant about putting frozen eggs “under halachic supervision”. I’m curious as to what the halachic implications are of a single woman having a baby using the donation of sperm.

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing.
    The real issue imho is to encourage Israelis to marry ealier and help girls/boys meet potential spouses.
    We would like children to be born as an outcome of a couple joining in marriage , the fruit of their love.
    Freezing of eggs does give women hope


  4. Regular Anonymous says


    Nice to meet you. I married at age 37. I have several friends who married in their 30’s and some who never married.

    Re the actual topic, I think it will be great if it actually works, but there are not really any reliable statistics on success rates.

    • yes, i married at 27. Also, placing eggs “under halachic supervision” sounds fishy to me as well. In his halachic opinion (which is probably more sociological than actual halacha) single motherhood is a no no. I’m sure there are other legitimate halachic opinions on this topic that contradict his.

  5. I’ve met plenty of single religious girls over 25, baalot teshuvah like myself. I think it’s a great idea.

  6. It must be a very tough decision for women to make. Kind of like “facing up to facts” about their age and unmarried status. Most unmarried women in their 30’s that I know are deeply distressed by their situation. Would you feel comfortable suggesting this to an unmarried friend?
    Thanks Hannah for raising awareness of this option. We should share it around on Facebook etc. so that single women will learn about this.

  7. In the rabbi’s defense, it very much sounds like he is
    protecting his public reputation. He knows not everyone
    agrees about single motherhood, and he is avoiding debating
    the topic entirely by “intend”ing to “suggest” this ridiculous
    hand tying proposal.

  8. JewishMom says

    especially loved the photo…


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  2. […] 19, 2011 By mother in israel Leave a Comment Last week I reported on the conference encouraging single women in their 30′s to freeze their eggs for after marriage. The website Jewish Ideas Daily translated and published two responsa by Rabbi Yuval Cherlow to a […]