Sunday 24 May 2009

Things I'd never considered: Talmudic law edition

The National Post hosts a podcast today, and accompanying print edition, highlighting the procedures necessary for Orthodox Jews contemplating in vitro fertilization. Unsurprisingly, it's pretty complicated. The prohibition on masturbation, combined with the prohibition on condom use, make semen collection difficult. The solution?
"According to Jewish law, a man cannot ejaculate and spill his seed, he cannot waste his seed," Rabbi Jacobson explained. "To accommodate this, the couple can engage in intercourse using a special pierced condom," he said. The special condom captures the sample, while also leaving room for the possibility of conception.

Tyler likely would have tagged this "Markets in everything: Kosher pierced condoms".

The podcast has details not covered in the print story, for those who need all the details.

Update: the more I think about this, the more I think about cheating at solitaire....

On the other side, the article notes a low low price of about $100-$500 for a service that watches your gametes like a hawk and makes extra sure of no mixups. Seems like a bargain that anyone in that market would grab. If the notional cost of a mixup is say $7 million (pulled out of the air based just on VSL measures; I have a hard time imagining the compensating differential that would make me equally happy across world-states), seems pretty cheap even if the baseline probability of mixup is pretty low.

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