Monday, May 15, 2006

To Tell or Not to Tell

So I was reading Julie's blog today and this post and it got me thinking. Go and check out her post and her thoughts about it. But here's the thing. This woman, Kelly Romenesko, was a teacher in the Catholic School system in her hometown in Wisconsin. In 2004, she and her husband used IVF and she became pregnant with twins. She had been open and honest with the school, asked for a couple of days off for the embryo transfer, and that she was using IVF. But when she told them she was pregnant about a month later, she was fired for "violating a provision of her employment contract saying a teacher has to act in accordance with Catholic doctrine."

I'm Jewish, not Catholic, but V. is catholic so I'll let him weigh in on what he thinks. Jewish scholars have interpreted the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply" to include both natural and artificial means. I think this article has talked about it extremely well, and shows that Judaism is more forward thinking that other religions, even the orthodox viewpoint. However, this all changes when donor sperm or egg is used. In Jewish law, the child is considered Jewish if the mother is Jewish. So what happens if the donor of the egg is not Jewish, but the birth mother is? Some Rabbinical scholars say that the child is not Jewish and must convert to Judaism. Other scholars believe that the mother is the woman who actually gives birth to the child, which means the child is Jewish. My donor is not Jewish. I don't know at this point if my future child/ren will be considered Jewish or not. I do intend to ask the Rabbi who married us what his take is on it, and I also intend to ask him, when the time comes, if there is a conversion ceremony that could be carried out when the child is an infant. V. and I haven't decided to raise our children as Catholic or Jewish, but rather exposed as best we can, to both religions. I'd like my children, according to Jewish law, to be viewed as Jewish so that they can make the decision when they are older which religion they'd like to pursue.

It's ironic this became a religious post, as I really am non-practicing. However, for those of you who know me, it is still important. When V. and I got married two years ago, I wanted to be married by a Rabbi in a Jewish ceremony. I found Rabbi Mark who turned out to be knowledgable, friendly, funny and an all around nice guy. He didn't judge us and performed the ceremony as we wanted it. Just as it was important for me to be married under a chuppah by a Rabbi, it is also important that any sons I have be circumcised. Now I don't want to hear from you if you disagree with circumsion or not. This is not the purpose of my comment, but rather to explain my viewpoint. It's more to explain how my heritage fits into my life now. And based on the Jewish views on IVF and donor eggs/sperms how it affects V. and I.

So what do you think?

Sorry this post became some what all over the place.


x said...

hmmm, what do I think? I don't think you want to get me started on the catholic view point. From what I have seen, the Jewish community is one of the most supportive when it comes to IVF, although there seem to be alot of confusing contridictions that complicate the whole thing even further.

I just wish that the religous community would either be supportive or stay out of it. The story with the teacher being fired makes me sick. How many priests abusing young boys were covered up by the church so they could keep preaching but they cannot allow a teacher to do IVF? The catholic church chooses when to make a stand. Uh oh, you went and got me started. Must stop!

Dtrini said...

LOL, JAJ, you and I think very much alike. I am not VERY lay practising Roman Catholic. I do hold my faith seriously but I also hold the right to question it at any point. Blind faith is what led to the Dark ages and the times of Charlemagne and The Inquisition (dang, cannot say that word without breaking out into song from History of the World Part 1). I find all religion to be very hypocrtical when it comes to free choice and that does not sit well with me. Christians preach tolerance and acceptance unless it is something that they don't like. Extreme Muslims preach peace unless you cross them. Jews preach acceptance unless you want to join the group. Every religion has a way to exclude those they deem unworthy to be a part of the group and to come down on those they find do not follow their way. I guess it is part and parcel of being in an organized religion and it is the reason there are so many more like me out there questioning the wisdom of it all.

(EDITOR's NOTE: This became a very long ass post so I cut the rest and posted it as a full post)