Assisted Reproduction in Israel

Law, Religion and Culture

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The main argument in this BRP is that assisted reproduction in Israel gives expression to and develops the right to procreate. It is a complex right, and therefore at times no consensus has been reached on the form of its actual application (as in the case of surrogacy and egg donation, and, from a different direction, in that of posthumous sperm retrieval). This right, however, despite the debates on its boundaries, is widely accepted, practiced, and even encouraged in the Israeli context, with a constructive collaboration of three main elements: the Israeli civil legal system, religious law (which in the context of the Israeli majority is Jewish law), and Israeli society and culture.
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Biographical Note

Avishalom Westreich is an Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) of Jewish Law, Family Law, and Jurisprudence, at the College of Law and Business in Ramat Gan and a Research Fellow at the Kogod Research Center for Contemporary Jewish Thought at Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, at Harvard Law School (Fall 2017), a Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University (Fall 2016), and a research fellow at the Agunah Research Unit at the University of Manchester (2007-2008).
His research deals primarily with the dramatic changes in the family during the second half of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries. His previous publications include No-Fault Divorce in the Jewish Tradition (2014 [Hebrew]) and Talmud-Based Solutions to the Problem of the Agunah (Agunah Research Unit, vol. 4, 2012).

Table of contents

Abstract; Introduction;
Chapter 1. The Right to Procreate in Surrogacy and Egg Donation: Legal Arrangements, Difficulties, and Challenges:
I. Background
II. Surrogacy and Egg Donation: Restricted Openness
A. Preserving the Traditional, Heterosexual Family Structure
B. The Centrality of Genetic Connections
C. Protecting Religious Interests
III. Proposals for Changing the Current Legal Situation
Chapter 2. The Right to Posthumous Procreation:
I. Background
II. The Parents' Right to Posthumous Fertilization
III. The Future of the Parents' Right to Posthumous Fertilization: Two Concepts of the Right to Procreation
A. The Supreme Court vs. Proposed Legislation: Two Concepts
B. The Ancient Predecessor of the Two-Concepts Model
IV. Posthumous Fertilization: Modern Jewish Law
V. Summary
Chapter 3. Conceptual Implications of the Modern Right to Procreate:
I. Background
II. Israeli Family Law Concepts of Parenthood: Considerate Functionalism
III. Jewish Law Concepts of Parenthood in the Israeli Context
IV. Conclusions: Functional Parenthood and Conceptual Dynamism
Chapter 4. The Modern Right to Procreate: Basic Jewish Law Approaches:
I. Background
II. Areas of Tension
III. Jewish Law under Societal Pressure
IV. Closing Remarks.

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