Single Religious Woman Harvests Her Eggs

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.


Single Motherhood in the Orthodox Community

Guiding Couples Through Infertility

Rabbi: Freezing Eggs Not Viable Solution

Interview with Founder of Kayama Moms, for Religious Single Women Having Babies


  1. Thanks for translating this. I think that one of the more complicated parts of the procedure is proper defrosting, so by the time Tzipora is ready for that Israel might be at the top of the game.

    I know the decision to freeze eggs was a somewhat emotional decision for Tzipora, as I’m guessing it is for many single women. It costs a lot of money, and is a rather unpleasant experience with some risks. Tzipora felt that deciding to freeze her eggs was a confirmation that she failed to get married within a normal time frame. It wasn’t like she put off getting married in order to have a career. Given the choice, she would have preferred to have found her “b’shert” (other half) by now, and have children in the traditional style.

    I think it’s a brave and responsible thing to do. It says, “I will get married; I will have children.” Incidentally, the procedure was successful and Tzipora has no intention of doing another round. She is recovering now.

  2. Regular Anonymous says

    I’m surprised and thrilled that Puah is supportive of single women freezing eggs.

    • I don’t think there is a downside but maybe some will say – what’s the rush to get married – there is no more missing the ‘ biological’ train

  3. Interesting. I thought there was a problem with storing unfertilized eggs, due to something to do with the cell wall structure.

    I actually read about this issue years ago in a Machon Pu’ah article.

    I guess things have changed.