Rabbi Menachem Burstein, head of the Puah Institute, a Jewish fertility organization, has declared that "there is not one rabbinical religious authority in the world allowing a single woman to give birth." (God apparently doesn't count.) Why?
Well, as the Orthodox Rabbi Burstein explains, it's for the kids: on an Israeli panel titled "Parenthood at any Cost," he condemned the selfishness of single women who go in for in-vitro, citing the dire consequences for family structure and the "suffering" of said much-desired children. For a while, the rabbinate was okay with single Jewish women having kids. (After all, Puah's stated mission is "bringing more Jewish children into the world.") But they've changed their minds. Maybe. Possibly. Says ynetnews,
Speaking during an event at the Ono Academic College, Rabbi Burstein claimed that Rabbi Yuval Cherlow has reconsidered an approval given in the past to a single woman approaching the age of 40 to get pregnant from a sperm donation.
But Cherlow, the alleged single-mom-frowner, will neither confirm nor deny, saying only, "Those who want to know my stand on this matter should turn to me."
Whatever the hell the official word is - not that I don't love ridiculously cryptic obfuscation - it remains true that Rabbis don't actually have the power to prevent insemination, birth, or the raising of children, however much they may declare it "not allowed." They do, however, have the power to alienate a large number of people, lose a lot of women, and generally risk undermining their overall authority, all the while causing a greater rift between the religious orthodoxy and the rest of Israel. They're also tackling the issue of gay parents, you'll be glad to know: as Transracial puts it with admirable understatement, "We can't wait to hear what they think about that."