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Dear Rabbi, I will be doing a FET this Sunday and I have a question we have two children one boy and one girl and have 5 healthy embryos of various genders and will be transferring one of these embryos. Do we have the right to choose a gender if not how can we do this randomly each embryo has a number can we put the numbers in a hat and pick it randomly could we simply ask the doctor to make a random pick? I assume the doctor may influence his decision based on his own thoughts maybe I'm wrong. This may be strange but can we put the numbers in a hat and have our eldest just pick a random number out of the hat? Thank you
AnswerGood morning, Thank you for reaching out to PUAH. I would advise instructing the doctor to transfer the best quality embryo. If there is a male and female with the same quality, it is completely up to you! If you want the doctor or your child to choose...thatís fine...but under these circumstances, there is nothing wrong with you choosing the gender. On the contrary, why should the doctor have more of a say on your family than you!? I am more than happy to discuss this further on the phone. Feel free to call me at your convenience. 718-336-0603. All the best,
Family Purity
Good morning Rabbi, can you please answer this very time pressing question. I am scheduled to go to the mikvah tomorrow night. However, I have not been feeling well recently and am currently waiting to hear back from my doctor with the test results. I am not in mandatory quarantine at this time, but my doctor told me to stay home. What should I do about going to the mikvah? Suppose my results come back and I do not have the coronavirus, am I then able to go to the mikvah? Thank you
AnswerFirst of all, refuah shleima for any symptoms you are currently experiencing. I understand that this is a complicated question, as timely immersion in the mikvah is very special and important. However, I must stress the value and importance of your health, the health of your family as well as the health of your community. We know how much the Torah values life, and it would be inappropriate to endanger yourself or anyone else, even for the special mitzvah of immersing in a mikvah. Therefore, if you are not feeling well, you may not immerse in a public mikvah - which means that you will remain in the current state of niddah. As soon as you feel better, you should contact your physician to receive guidelines and instructions for public exposure which includes immersion in the mikvah. In the event that you test positive for the Coronavirus, chas víshalom, you will receive special instructions from your doctor how to proceed. May you have a quick and speedy recovery along with the rest of the cholei yisrael.
Family Purity
Iím sure you're aware of whatís going on with the CoronavirusÖ My Mikvah night is this Monday (today is Thursday) and I donít know what to do. Baruch Hashem I do not feel sick at all and I do not have any symptoms from any virus or the like. Am I still able to go to the mikvah? Are there any changes in place due to the virus? Thank you so much for this service!
AnswerGood afternoon, thanks for reaching out to PUAH. We have seen statements published by many Mikvaot around the world with their own guidelines and protocols. For the most part, the Mikvaot are open and are cleaning and disinfecting the premises on a very frequent basis. At this time, it seems that women who are not sick and are not experiencing any flu like symptoms may immerse in the Mikvah. Itís only Thursday now and things may change by Monday, so I encourage you to be in touch with your local Mikvah on the day of your immersion to verify that they are open.
Hello, I am currently in the middle of an IVF cycle process and Iím very nervous about the Coronavirus. I just had my egg retrieval earlier this week but Iím not sure what to do about my egg transfer - Do you think I should push off the retrieval because of Coronavirus? Is it dangerous to become pregnant (for me or the potential fetus)? I've already been through so much and would only want to push off the cycle if it's absolutely necessary. Thank you for your time.
AnswerHello - this is a very common question at this time, but that doesnít make it any easier to answer! After much thought and consideration, our recommendation is to consult your doctor. They will likely ask if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms and whether you have travelled recently. Assuming you feel fine and are not aware of any exposure to the virus, the decision must be made with your doctorís approval. I know patients who are cancelling their cycles and I just spoke with someone who is planning their IVF treatment for next week! Please feel free to reach out if you want to discuss your doctorís protocols. We are here for you and especially at such a hard time like this. Wishing you bracha víhatzlacha!
Family Purity
I am in my seven clean days and Iím supposed to go to the mikvah tomorrow night. We went on vacation and I forgot to bring my birth control pills with me. After two days of not taking them, I started bleeding. Do I need to start counting all over again?
AnswerNot taking birth control pills for two days may be the cause for mid-cycle bleeding/spotting. Depending on how much blood you saw and where the blood was found, you may have to start the seven clean days again beginning with a new hefsek tahara. This can start as soon as you can produce a clean bedika. As I mentioned, there is a possibility that you can continue counting and go to mikvah as planned - I recommend you call one of our Rabbis to discuss the details of your case - 718.336.0603.
Baruch Hashem my husband and I are blessed with 5 healthy boys. I am 40 years old and very much would like to have a girl, as well. I am afraid that time is running out, as my pregnancies are less likely to be successful and more risky. Is there any way, medically and halachically, that we can ensure to be blessed with a girl? Thank you for your time.
AnswerShalom! There are 2 basic methods for choosing the gender of a baby. 1. As you know, males have 2 types of sperm - X sperm and Y sperm. If their X sperm fertilizes an egg, then the child will be a girl (XX). If the husbandís Y sperm fertilizes the egg, then the child will be a boy (XY). There are studies that propose that the X sperm is more durable and can survive longer than the Y sperm. Whereas the Y sperm is faster, but has less stamina and doesnít survive as long as the X sperm. Therefore, knowing this information, you can try and plan intercourse appropriately depending on your desired outcome. For example, if you have relations some time before ovulation, the sperm will be in the womanís body for the next 3 days waiting for ovulation to occur. As we mentioned, the Y sperm is less durable and may die before ovulation. Therefore, the chances are higher that the only sperm cells that will be alive to fertilize the egg at ovulation will be the X sperm cells - creating a female embryo. This method is completely permitted according to Halacha, however it is certainly not guaranteed to work. Additionally, depending on when you go to the Mikvah, you may not be able to be together with your husband until the actual time of ovulation. 2. The second possibility is in vitro fertilization with preimplantation genetic screening (IVF with PGS). This method is guaranteed to yield desired results, assuming conception is successful. This process involves a considerable amount of medical treatment, potential Halachic compromises, and is usually quite expensive. This question has been asked to PUAH countless times. It is a sensitive subject because the couple are usually distraught. The general consensus amongst the poskim is not in favor of such a procedure, but of course every situation is different. I suggest you give us a call at 718.336.0603 so we can discuss the details of your personal situation.
Family Purity
On Monday I was supposed to do a Hefsek Tahara. However, I didn't realize what time was shkiah and I didn't do the Hefsek until 30 minutes after shkiah. I know I was clean, it's just that I didn't actually do the Hefsek before shkiah. Then on Tuesday I did a Hefsek at the right time, before shkiah. Can I count my hefsek from Monday and start counting the zayin nekiim from Tuesday or is Tuesday my hefsek day and Wednesday will be day one? Thank you so much for this ask the rabbi service!
AnswerShalom, 30 minutes after shkiah is too late to be considered a Hefsek Tahara for Monday. However, you write that you know you were clean. Is this knowledge based on the fact that you did any type of internal examination earlier in the day - because that alone might be able to be considered as a Hefsek. Let us know what your knowledge is based on. 718.336.0603 For the future, itís a good idea to perform a ďbackup hefsekĒ at any point during your ďhefsek tahara day.Ē You should still do a hefsek tahara later in the day since that is the proper time, but the initial bedika may serve as a backup if you end up forgetting the hefsek or perform it after shekiya.
My wife and I are struggling with infertility and we just started seeing a reproductive endocrinologist. One of the tests the doctor wants me to take is a semen analysis. What is the proper way to do this according to Halacha?
AnswerShalom, there are several methods used for sperm procurement. The most acceptable according to halacha is the post-coital test (PCT) - the couple has relations and then the woman goes to the doctor who removes semen from inside of her. Your doctor may or may not offer this as an option. Therefore, the next best option according to halacha for the couple to have intercouse and then to collect the semen that leaves the womanís body into a sterile cup. That cup should be delivered to the lab within an hour or so. Another method is through intercouse with a special medical condom to collect the semen. I would like to mention that there are important factors in specific cases that may change the psak regarding the semen analysis. I suggest you call PUAH at 718.336.0603 for the best advice based on your specific situation. Wishing you all the best!
Family Purity
Hi there! I was supposed to get my period last week and those days passed without any blood. So I took a home pregnancy test and it came out positive! A couple of days later I saw spotting on my undergarments. I did an internal bedika and there were some pink spots on the cloth. I didnít look like my period but the cloth definitely wasnít clean. After that, I didn't see anything. Then two days later (today) I saw brown colors on the tissue after wiping in the bathroom. I am going to the doctor tomorrow to make sure the pregnancy is still go, but what should I do in terms of niddah?
AnswerFirst of all, mazel tov on the good news, may everything go smoothly. In general, if you experience spotting in the future, you are not required to do a bedika. In fact, doing a bedika may put you into niddus unnecessarily. Therefore, you should only perform a bedika when a Rav tells you that you must. Regarding the bedika that you did, that cloth should be brought to a Rav to determine whether or not the color will render you a niddah. It is quite common for a pregnant woman to experience uterine bleeding - this blood generally does not pose any danger to the pregnancy, but it can render the woman a niddah. The other option to consider is perhaps the blood is coming for a vaginal/cervical wound which will not render you a niddah at all. You should make an appointment at your local bodeket to see whether or not there is a makkah. Feel free to call us at 718.336.0603for a list of bodkot near you!
High Risk Pregnancies
My wife had a miscarriage and D&C 11 days ago. When can she go to the mikvah? Iím asking from both a halachic standpoint as well as a medical one. Thank you
AnswerI am sorry to hear about your loss, may you be blessed with good news in the very near future. If the miscarriage took place 40 days after conception, then you must wait 2 weeks from the misscarriage to attempt for a hefsek tahara. It may help to figure out when her last mikvah night was and then begin counting 40 days from there. If the misscarriage occurred within the 40 days, then the bleeding is treated like a regular niddah cycle. Therefore, you wait a minimum of 5 days from when your wife began bleeding, followed by a Hefsek Tahara and seven clean days. There are other opinions about how to calculate day 40. This is also especially relevant in determining whether the miscarriage we prevent a pidyon haben for a future son. For specific guidance on how to calculate mikvah/future pidyon haben after a misscarriage, call PUAH 718.336.0603
Family Purity
Good morning. I have a niddah question. I experience staining a couple of days before my period actually starts. I usually see the staining on toilet paper after going to the bathroom, and I consider myself forbidden to my husband beginning then. I want to make sure Iím doing the right thing because Iím almost always a niddah for way longer than the regular 12 days. Your guidance would be very helpful, thank you!
AnswerShalom and thanks for reaching out! It is quite common that women experience staining before their flow begins. Assuming they see the blood on something that is not white or something that is not mekabel tumah (toilet paper, the toilet seat, the floor etc.), then she will not be rendered a niddah. In general, it is very important to communicate with Rav before assuming you are niddah. I think you will be pleasantly surprised that the more you ask, the more youíll see that youíre not actually a niddah! Letís assume you notice light staining a few days before the expected period on colored underwear - assuming the amount of blood does not resemble a flow then you are not a niddah. You should abstain from having relations from the moment you see spotting, but none of the other niddah restrictions are in place. We encourage you to write back or call us at 718.336.0603 with any questions you may have!
Family Purity
I am currently 6.5 weeks postpartum. I did a Hefsek and the first three days were fine. But now Iím on my fourth day and there was blood on my bedikah. What should I do now? How long is it normal to bleed after a birth?
AnswerMazal tov! First of all, it may seem like there is blood on the bedika, but the cloth should be shown to rav to make that final determination. If the bedika was painful, perhaps you have vaginal/cervical cut which may be the cause of the bleeding - in which case you would not have to restart your seven clean days. However, if we assume that the blood is for the uterus, you would be required to perform a new hefsek tahara and moch dachuk before restarting the seven clean days. I would like to note that it is very common to experience abnormal postpartum bleeding. Even if the bleeding is on and off - there is no reason to be alarmed. If it continues, you should reach out to to your doctor and you can always reach out to PUAH!
Good morning, my husband and I have been married for a bit over a year and we have not been successful getting pregnant. I am 24 years old and my husband is 25. I get my period on a pretty consistent basis, every 26 or 27 days. My doctor told me that my bloodwork is all normal and perhaps it's male factor infertility. What should my next steps be?
AnswerShalom! It is certainly possible that there is a male issue here. In fact, studies show that male factor infertility is as common as female infertility! Nevertheless, before we jump to any conclusions, let us begin by addressing a basic question - are you ovulating too early? You wrote that you get your period every 26 or 27 days - perhaps the reason why you're not getting pregnant is because you are ovulating before you go to mikvah. Ovulation typically occurs 14 days before the onset of your next period. In other words, if a woman has a 30 day cycle, she will normally ovulate on the 16th day of her cycle. If you get your period every 26 days, you may be ovulating on day 12 of your cycle. Assuming you perform a hefsek tahara on day 5 of your cycle followed by 7 clean days, you are ovulating very close to mikvah. Perhaps even too close for a successful pregnancy. I recommend that you buy ovulation sticks from your local pharmacy and track your ovulation to see exactly when it occurs. If you see that you are ovulating before mikvah, there are a number of ways to fix this issue. After a conversation with our of our rabbanim, we may discover a halachically permissible way for you go to mikvah earlier than your normal practice. Our rabbinic team is also well versed in hormonal & holistic methods to push off your ovulation until after the mikvah. Please call us at 718.336.0603 and we will walk you through your cycle so ovulation will occur after mikvah.
High Risk Pregnancies
: I am 35 years old and in the 9th week of pregnancy. My doctor asked if we wanted to do an amniocentesis due to my age, and I didnít know how to respond. Please advise. Thanks!
AnswerB'shaah Tovah! An amniocentesis does pose a potential risk to the pregnancy and therefore must be considered carefully on a case by case basis. Although age is certainly one factor in the decision making, it also depends on the results of the ultrasounds and blood tests. Assuming the ultrasound and blood tests are all normal, we generally recommend NIPT and avoid the amnio. NIPT (Noninvasive prenatal tests) doesnít test for as many chromosomal defects as amniocentesis, but it does screen for the most common fetal chromosome anomalies: trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome) and trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome). If you have any other questions, please donít hesitate to reach out by phone or email - 718.336.0603/
High Risk Pregnancies
I am currently 41 and a half weeks pregnant with my fourth pregnancy. My previous births were all before week 40. A week ago my doctor recommended inducing labor, but we refused. Now we are anticipating a possible birth on Friday or Shabbos which is something we want to avoid. Can we induce now so we can try and be out of the hospital before shabbos?
AnswerB'shaah Tovah! I have spoken to a number of highly revered Torah scholars about the halachos of labor induction and their answers are quite simple: if the doctor medically advises that you induce, it is permitted, if not obligatory, to listen to your doctor. You may not take any unnecessary risks.The fact that the birth might take place on Friday or Shabbos should not play a role in the decision to induce. Itís true that there are poskim who maintain that it is generally not permissible to induce, but even those poskim agree that one must induce to protect the health of the fetus.
High Risk Pregnancies
I recently found out that I am infected with the CMV virus and my doctor recommended that i go on birth control. However, I just took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. I am considering having an abortion because I don't want a child that is sick. Can you please advise me what to do?
AnswerMazal tov on the positive pregnancy test! Research shows very clearly that the probability of the fetus being affected by the CMV that you have is very low. It also makes a difference when you contracted the virus. Was it recently or a long time ago? Please call us and we will guide you with all the exact statistics. One thing is clear, please do not go ahead with the abortion. Please call me at 718.336.0603 and we will walk you through everything and calm your nerves!
Family Purity
Hello. I am still nursing my one year old daughter and I stopped taking birth control pills three weeks ago and still have not gotten my period. I took a pregnancy test and it came back negative. Is this normal?
AnswerHi, thanks for reaching out to PUAH. You did not mention which type of pill you were taking. If it was a progesterone only pill, then it is very possible to still not yet get your period, especially if you are still nursing a baby.
High Risk Pregnancies
I had a miscarriage a few weeks ago with a D&C and I am still bleeding, is that normal? Also, my doctor recommended that even after I am able to go to the mikvah, I should use contraception until I get my first period, preferably a spermicide and not anything hormonal. Is this allowed according to Halacha?
AnswerFirstly, I am sorry to hear about your loss. May Hashem bless you with healthy children in the near future. It is completely normal to continue to have light bleeding even at this point. If the bleeding persists, you should have your doctor examine you to make sure the uterus has been completely cleaned out. It is advisable, both medically and Halachically, to utilize birth control until your first period to ensure that your organs are functioning normally and have had a chance to get back to themselves and can withstand a pregnancy. Spermicide, such as VCF, is acceptable according to Halacha.
Hello, I need to undergo surgery for a varicocele. What are the consequences of such a procedure and does it affect fertility?
AnswerA varicocele procedure is performed for one of three reasons. One reason is pain that is clearly being caused by the varicocele. Another reason is testicular atrophy, a concern that the varicocele will cause the testicles to deteriorate. A 3rd reason why someone may have a varicocele surgery done when the varicocele may be the cause of low sperm count. Therefore, the question of surgery will depend on each case by itself, depending on the reason for the surgery. Assuming the procedure is the appropriate course of action from a medical standpoint, it would be permissible from the halachic standpoint as well. If a semen analysis is suggested by your doctor, it might make a difference according to Halacha if you are single or married. Please feel free to contact us at 718.336.0603 to discuss your particular situation in greater detail.
I am in my 21st week of pregnancy. Do I need to fast this Tisha B'av?
AnswerBíshaa tova! The laws of fasting on Tisha baíav are more lenient this year because Tisha B'av is a nidcheh (the 9th of Av falls out on a shabbos and we therefore observe tisha baív on sunday - one day late). In addition to it being a nidcheh, there are some Poskim that feel that a pregnant woman should not fast at all. Therefore, assuming your doctor agrees, I would suggest that you start off fasting at night and see if you can make it until chatzos the following day (halachic noon). However, if at any point throughout Tisha Bav you feel weak, then you can break your fast. Since we are observing Tisha Bíav immediately following shabbos, many poskim maintain that you need havdallah before eating. There is a dispute whether it is permissible to make havdallah over wine/grape juice on tisha bav, therefore itís best to use coffee or orange juice. You can hear havdallah from your husband (you drink the cup) or you can make havdallah yourself.
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