Saturday, January 13, 2007


I was warming to a couple who had contacted me about spare embryos I had on ice. My dream for these embryos was to help strengthen the Hebrew people, decimated during World War II, by finding Jewish parents to take these genetically Jewish embryos. That goal, however, took a back seat to the greater importance of helping a lesbian couple overcome the ridiculous legal barrier gay couples face in having a child.

The lesbian couple with whom I was corresponding sounded great. But they were certainly not Jewish. Right off the bat I was asking them challenging questions. If they said "no" to any of them I would have a concrete reason to reject them as candidates and could continue looking for a Jewish couple. But they were agreeable to everything I asked of them and their friendly, open attitude drew me in.

Now we were moving on to the most challenging issues. First I asked them how they felt about an issue which had, luckily, been a deal-breaker with a couple I promised embryos to before discovering how unpleasant those candidates were. That issue was doing the embryo transfer at the excellent and reasonably-priced fertility clinic where the embryos were stored.

After explaining the fact that our clinic has the best success rates in the nation and costs one-third of what their clinic charges I asked if this new couple would consider traveling one trip of several hours by airplane to do the embryo transfer at my clinic.

On our two-hour car ride to visit my parents yesterday, we had actually talked about the possibility of traveling to a clinic to have a procedure if it would make the odds better for us. I would hope that the clinic would accept our fertility clinic's records. I can’t really think of any reason why not but that would be our only question, otherwise; we would certainly travel to your clinic.

Well that was easy. These women were just not being considerate about giving me reasons to reject them, other than their culture differing from mine. So I decided to tackle the thorny issue which was causing all of my concern: the differences between our religions and cultures.

So many Jewish people have forgotten their roots due to assimilation. Having lost nearly my entire family to anti-Semitic murderers during World War II how could I contribute to the extinction of my own culture by giving Jewish embryos to Christian parents? These nice women were promising to raise children from my embryos to know their genetic roots and learn about that heritage. But as the Jewish comedian Jackie Mason puts it, "You can't be both a table and a chair".

There is no such thing as a Christian Jew. Jews who believe that Christ is the Messiah promised in our Bible are no longer Jews, they are, by definition, Christians. The whole point of Judaism is to better ourselves and our people so the messiah can arrive on earth.

"Messianic Jews" are simply deluded. They are, by definition, ignorant of Judaism and have absorbed the anti-Semitic attitudes of the society in which they live. They may like Christ, but they all, to some degree, become Christian because it is easier than being Jewish in an anti-Jewish world. Clearly they lack the courage of their conviction: instead of becoming Christians and calling themselves Christian they create an intrinsically oxymoronic status. A Christian Jew is an inherent contradiction, like a vegetarian who only eats beef.

If children from my embryos are raised in a church they will not be Jewish. No one who believes that Christ is the Messiah is a Jew. That belief is simply incompatible with Judaism.

How could I even expect Christians to raise a Jew? The closest analogy I could make for myself would be if I were trying to adopt a child whose genetic and cultural heritage were Native American. I understand that these cultures were cruelly suppressed and members of those tribes murdered simply because of their genetic heritage. I agree that it would be unfortunate for cultural assimilation to absorb more children from those backgrounds into a bland European-American melting pot. Yet I am ignorant of what sorts of things a Navajo, Hopi, Cherokee, Cree or other aboriginal parent would want to impart to their child. If I were adopting an Indian child, what could I tell the genetic parents to assuage their concerns within my limited abilities to do so?

This is how I phrased my concerns:

Since you mentioned God would you mind telling me what denomination your families are?

Do you currently belong to a church?

If you have children from these embryos how would you help them understand the Jewish part of their heritage?

I wondered what Jenny and Erin would say. I wondered what, if anything, they could say that would work for me. They were batting 1000 so far. Would this, the most important question yet, be a home run or a strike out?