The Rebbe’s adamant opposition to certain fertility treatments, namely IVF, is well-documented both in written answers and in “Sunday Dollars” encounters on video (see below).
Last week, we presented the words of Rabbi Menachem Burshtein, head of Machon Puah as was printed in the Derech Ha’melech’ magazine, in which he said:
“When I visited the Rebbe a short while before Chanukah 5752, and reported that the treatments performed by Machon Puah are supervised by Rabbi Eliyahu, the Rebbe supposedly ‘changed his mind.’
The reason I used the word ‘supposedly’ is because it’s clear the Rebbe didn’t change his mind. The Rebbe’s view was, that these treatments were prohibited due to various Halachic problems which are part of the treatment, but when the Rebbe was told that the treatments are being done under the supervision of Rabbi Eliyahu, a man the Rebbe trusted, the Rebbe agreed.”
However, in a follow-up email conversation with a ChabadInfo.com reporter, Rabbi Burshtein clarified that: (1) The Rebbe didn’t change his mind; (2) He didn’t report to the Rebbe directly [translated from Hebrew]:
“Heaven Forbid! I didn’t say that the Rebbe changed his mind, the opposite is true. What I said was, that Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu sent me to the Rebbe to report that the treatments in Machon Pu’ah are under his supervision.
When I came to the Rebbe, I asked the Rebbe’s secretary, Rabbi Leibel Groner, to give over my message to the Rebbe, and he gave over the message, and the Rebbe then approved it.”
We present the two written answers from the Rebbe that were published on the matter on fertility treatments:
1) A woman wrote to the Rebbe, that certain doctors are recommending she undergo fertility treatments, among them IVF. The Rebbe responded (Teshura Gordon-Diskin 5771):
“As it is publicly known, I am not in support of this. And whomever wants [to do it] should ask Rabbis, and don’t ask me again on this matter.”
2) In 1988, Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Amram from Afula, Israel, wrote to the Rebbe, that they are considering undergoing fertility treatments, many years after their marriage. The Rebbe responded in a postscript to a letter dated Chanukah 5749 (printed in Beis Moshiach):
“P.S. It is publicly known the opinion of many – against IVF treatment, and similar treatments.”