Tzitz Eliezer: Can A Doctor Tell A Chosson That His Kalla Cannot Have Children or Vice Versa?


tzitz-eliezerA doctor performed surgery on a 19-year-old girl who had no reproductive organs whatsoever.   The girl pleaded with the doctor not to reveal to the boy about her condition and the boy didn’t inquire. The doctor asked the Tzitz Eliezer, Rav Eliezer Yehudah Waldenberg zt”l, if he was required to proactively tell the boy about the situation (Tzitz Eliezer 16:4).

There are three issues involved in telling the boy:

1. The question of lashon hara

2. The girl’s request not to disclose her situation. 

3. The oath of confidentiality that every doctor makes.

The Tzitz Eliezer paskens that in this case, all hurdles are cleared and the doctor must tell the boy.

1. Lashon Hara – In a lengthy discussion, the Tzitz Eliezer says that, on the contrary, by not telling the boy, the doctor would be oveir the lav of “Lo sa’amod al dam rei’achaDo not stand on your brother’s blood.” This aveirah applies even for financial loss and certainly in this case where the consequences to his future are very grave. The Tzitz Eliezer calls this “leading the ox to the slaughterhouse.”

2. The Girl’s Request – Even if the doctor assured the girl that he would not divulge this information, he must do so nevertheless. Even if he swore, it would not be effective, because an oath to violate a mitzvah is not valid.

3. The Doctor’s Professional Oath – Here lies the only hitch. Since the oath covers both permissible cases and cases where he would be oveir an aveirah by keeping his oath, halachically the oath is valid. However, says the Tzitz Eliezer, the doctor is still obligated to be matir neder to nullify the oath in order to save the boy. (He does add that, possibly, he never made the oath to include cases like this and therefore he is not bound by it in this case.)

The Tzitz Eliezer‘s final p’sak is that the doctor is obligated to tell the boy and, for good measure, should do hataras nedarim before three people on his professional oath. 

He does, however, advise, as a practical matter, that it is best to let the girl know, as gently as possible, that he will inform the boy. This way, she may agree to tell him personally and save herself tremendous embarrassment. This p’sak, he says, applies in the reverse situation as well.

 { Newscenter}


  1. What about if the Boy has an issue would the same thought apply? i.e if the Boy cannot have children because he may have had a disease that would prevent him from having children.

    I think that the Lav would be Lifnei Evor Lo Siten Michshal…

  2. While I agree 100% that the girl is obligated to tell any perspective spouse that she is unable to conceive, if the doctor divulges this information can’t he be sued in the secular courts for breech of confidence?

    Would it not be better, to first try to convince the girl that she has nothing to gain by going into a marriage with such deceit?! It will come out eventually, and it sure won’t be pretty when the now husband finds out that she knew this all along! If she still refuses, perhaps the doctor shold try to convince her to speak to a rav herself who can perhaps explain the ramifications of her deceit!

  3. I think her father should approach his rav and then tell the shadchan to call his rav and have a meeting of rabbonim to decide which rov should get involved, then she should tell him
    did they even ever go out yet?

  4. #2 — The point of the psak is if she DIDN’T (and refuses) to tell, the doctor MUST. (BTW, who are YOU to disagree with the psak?)

    #3 — Again, the point is if she adamantly refuses.

  5. “This p’sak, he says, applies in the reverse situation as well.”

    Although she is not Mechuyeves be Piryoh ve Rivyoh, it is still a major Mum on his side.
    She has to know in order to agree (be moichel).

  6. I have a friend who was in such a situation over 20 years ago. His kallah told him that she couldn’t or probably couldn’t have children. I think because she was found to have cancer. Would he still marry her in light of all this? After consulting with Daas Torah, and the doctor, and his and her parents, and weighing the matter himself, he decided to marry her.
    Now, the wife is healthy as far as I know.
    Plus they had at least one kid. In fact I met their son a year or two ago. He is a fine yeshiva bachur.

  7. Does ANYONE who is leaving these “COMMENTS” understand it is a PIKUACH NEFESH SHAILOH. who are WE to comment if it is a RIGHT psak????????????

  8. I think another issue hasn’t been brought up. After such psak, women and men will stop seeking help for medical conditions that they suspect they have because they will be nervous a doctor will divulge this information.
    I know a girl who suspects she has a fertility condition but refuses to see a doctor so she doesn’t have a formal “diagnosis” she needs to divulge to a potential shidduch.

  9. Hey Maaseh Shehaya great story, but this girl nebech has NO reproductive organs none zip nada ninch.
    Never going to have kids.
    Gevald. Himmle geshrie!!!
    She will never be a mother…..