IVF is one of the infertility treatments in which some ova have been transported to the woman’s uterus in order to make a baby. Infertility is problematic for some spouses interested in technologies to overcome this problem. Some religious people, including Christians, Muslims, Jewish, etc., are among people who are passionate about doing these treatments. Due to the fact that some religions have strict religious views regarding infertility treatments, it’s worthwhile to evaluate these spiritual ideas. In this article, we will discuss IVF in Islam and assess all the opinions in this regard.
Is IVF allowed in Islam?
Muslim infertile parents are seeking God’s permission for IVF. According to our findings, both Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims have a tendency toward this treatment. However, as long as the law of the Quran is not against it. Some believe that this way can pose a direct threat to the marriage situation. As far as marriage is concerned, there is no more important than family in Islam. Family is at the center of society.
According to Islam, using technology to attempt to be healthy is not only accepted but also recommended. So, IVF in Islam is welcomed as another kind of treatment. However, there are different interprets of Shia and Sunni branches. Sunni Muslims agree to IVF in Islam as long as there is no third party in this method.
Assisted reproductive technologies in Islam
Assisted reproductive technologies in which there is a third party are not allowed in some Islamic branches. They have their reasons for this matter. Marriage is a holy bond in Islam, and entering a third party into this bond can ruin the marriage. It shouldn’t be any confusion about family lineage, mixing of genealogy, and designating the gestational carrier to be the mother. These are some Islam scholars’ fatwas, which have become low in some Islamic countries. Due to that, physicians have guidelines in this regard. So, in some Middle Eastern countries, IVF in Islam is allowed only between married couples. Using a third party for egg donation, sperm donation or surrogacy is forbidden in these branches. Apart from that, experts are responsible for doing this procedure.
Based on Islam’s law, fidelity in marriage is unacceptable, and this matter plays an essential role in an Islamic family. In Middle Eastern countries, marriage is viewed as a contract between husband and wife. Using a third party as a donor would be illegal in these countries. The donation of gametes and the help of a surrogate is considered adultery. Shi’a Islam, up till the late 1990s, agreed with some Sunni Muslim decrees regarding gamete donation. However, the Supreme Jurisprudent of the Shi’a Muslims like some Sunni leaders issued a fatwa that allowed the donation of gametes to be used in assisted reproductive technologies as well as surrogacy to support family foundations. This decree, however, does not apply to all Sunni Muslims because of their religious practices that differ from Sunni Islam.
Shia’s Views on IVF in Islam
Due to the fact that there are two types of Islam opinions, talking about both of them is necessary. There are differences between these ideas about IVF, egg, and sperm donation. In Shia belief, due to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s fatwa, issued in the late 1990s, the supreme leader of Iran, egg and embryo donation and even surrogacy are permitted. Iran is regarded as the only Muslim country which is open to all kinds of infertility treatments. It is legitimate and passed into law by authorities. Iran is a Shia-dominant country with a unique position. Many Iranian agencies and clinics like Tebmedtourism are doing IVF and donation technologies not only for Iranians but also for all people around the world. Based on this fatwa, Shias are allowed to be a surrogate mothers or use surrogacy to carry the baby. Fortunately, due to this fatwa, egg and embryo donation can be made in Iranian clinics and hospitals, with his fatwa displayed as moral justification. However, few Shia scholars disagree with this law. They are interested in the Sunni view regarding IVF in Islam. In their view, the third party should be prohibited in this process.
Sunni Views on IVF in Islam
There is nothing about IVF in the Quran and Sharia; however, infertility treatment is highly recommended when a spouse cannot have a child normally. Since adoption is not advised in Islam, parents should find other ways to solve this problem. Physicians are also responsible for doing the best way for fertilization and helping people to deliver babies. IVF, one of the effective infertility treatments, is wholly approved, and people are allowed to do this. According to Sunni scholars, this method does not permit a third party. This law has been accepted in Sunni Muslim countries since 1980. The prohibition of using a third party was considered in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
All the possibilities of IVF in Islam
This difference of opinion concerning third-party involvement is found within the Shi’a community but has not been translated into the Sunni community. This religious practice has allowed flexibility concerning embryo or egg donation because it revokes the issue of adultery within a marriage. Shi’ite Muslims follow strict rules in how the grant is practiced.
IVF between Married Couples
In principle, pregnancy should be the result of an ordinary intimate relationship unless the pregnancy becomes difficult through that process due to a disease or a natural defect. In these cases, if insemination is undertaken through the husband’s semen, the procedure is considered permissible.
IVF between Unmarried Couples
This procedure is considered prohibited because it confuses lineages.Moreover, in this case, the process resembles the forbidden act of adultery.
IVF between homosexuals
Homosexuality is not approved in Islam. As a result, the way IVF in Islam for them is not accepted.
Religious-moral Standing of the child
A child born through any of the prohibited procedures is considered foundling due to the intended couple’s religious branch and scholar’s opinion. It’s not attributed to a father but remains attached to his mother, as is the case with the child born outside marriage due to an adulterous relationship.
Physician Religious-moral Standing
Physicians in this field should exercise extreme caution. If he performs prohibited procedures, he is considered sinful, and his work is considered illegitimate
How do Muslims view IVF?
In the first scenario, the woman’s egg is fertilized by the semen of her husband in vitro. Then the egg is deposited in the woman’s uterus. This procedure is permissible as long as the wife’s egg and husband’s semen are involved. Another stipulation is the existence of a medical need for resorting to egg and sperm. An experienced and trustworthy physician should do it. The reason is that children are considered among the enjoyments of this life. Moreover, seeking medical treatment for treatable conditions, including cases of infertility, is permissible as long as it does not involve using prohibited items or procedures. Sometimes, treatment can even be obligatory if it leads to preserving life or treating infertility.
According to Islam, no more than the number needed for fertilized eggs should be transferred to the uterus. Usually, only two to three embryos transfer, although more fertilized embryos are generally produced. Many centers move only one or two embryos. The fate of the unused eggs has yet to be decided. It is acceptable to use them for medical research with the couple’s consent and within the appropriate guidelines.
The Quran and Hadith views on IVF in Islam
Owing to the fact that most modern reproductive technologies haven’t been invented in the Islam era, nobody can say what the Islam view of these treatments is. It’s impossible to find these materials in The Quran and Hadith directly. Nevertheless, nowadays, we have Islam scholars asking about Islam laws. So, in this article, we will evaluate the scholar’s views on IVF in Islam and other methods which are related to this method.
The Opinion of Islamic Scholars
Based on Islamic scholars, IVF in Islam is allowed only when Muslim couples are unable to have children in a usual way or in other ways that are accepted in Islam. Fertilization is obtained when the sperm and egg of the husband and wife are involved. And the embryos must be transplanted into the wife’s uterus. Some authorities recommend that IVF be chosen after efforts at traditional man-woman fertilization have proved unsuccessful for at least two years.
Muslim Jurists on IVF
Using IVF as a treatment for infertility is not limited to the husband and wife. Sometimes the third or the fourth part is required for egg or sperm donation. Sometimes the mother is unsuitable for carrying a baby, and a surrogate is needed.
Since 1980, this practice has been prohibited by most Sunni Muslim jurists as it invades a legitimate marital relationship. The anonymous donation is also banned because of the possibility of future incest between siblings, who may marry without knowing they share biological parents. In 1997, the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences in Casablanca, Morocco, held the 9th Islamic Law and Medicine Conference. Banning involving the third-party involvement was restated. The Fiqh Council of North America also prohibits sperm and egg donation.
Most jurists permit the freezing of excess fertilized ova. But some conditions should be considered. The ova can be used for this couple in the future, in case they are in a married relationship. The story is the same for frozen sperm and pre-embryos. Muslim jurists have ruled that gametes can be frozen before chemotherapy and radiotherapy if required for women with cancer.
Some questions exist about the way that IVF in Islam is done. Considering the fact that masturbation is not allowed in Islam, it can’t be done in this way. And its legal standing in producing sperm. Muslim jurists prohibit masturbation generally, except for IVF and averting fornication. The recommended options in IVF are first using a spermicide-free condom for relationship or allow his wife to perform the act of masturbation to collect the sperm. Jurists unanimously agree that this type of masturbation is legally permitted.
In the rare situation where an egg or sperm donation is made, even though it’s forbidden for most Sunni Muslims, according to most Muslim jurists, the husband and wife are the father and mother of the child.
What does the Quran say about infertility?
Infertility is the inability to have a child after one or two years of an unprotected physical relationship between partners. In this part of the article, we will talk about the Islamic view of infertility. Based on what is in the holy Quran, the desire to have children is in human nature. “Progeny and wealth are flourishes for life in this world,” it’s a quote from the Quran. This part has been interpreted in the way that women are craving two critical things. Financially secure and children. One of the praying in the Quran is, “Lord, grant us spouses and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, “So obviously, it can be seen that infertility is a problematic issue in the Quran view, and curing this problem is essential. Some stories in the Quran related to infertility problems can help us find a better idea of this issue. The first story is about Ibrahim and Sara. They were infertile spouses and couldn’t have any children. So, Sara offered her servant to her husband in order to have a child in this way. After so many years, God gave him (Ibrahim) glad tidings of a son with knowledge while his wife was too old and scientifically couldn’t bear a child. As a result, they were blessed with a son full of wisdom. His name was Ishak. Another excellent example of an infertile spouse in the Quran is Zakaria and his wife. Zakaria remained faithful to God and prayed to God to have children. Children are the best inherits that any person can have. So, God listened and gave them a son. His name was Yahya. According to Quran, being infertile can’t make you lesser than anybody else. You should pray God for children. The Islam Prophet says: “Marry fertile and kind women who will be the mother of many children so that I can be proud of the great numbers of my ummah.”Islam highly emphasizes on increasing fertility among couples.
Traveling to other countries for IVF
Owing to the fact that some branches of Islam can’t accept IVF in Islam and using egg, sperm and embryo donation is not approved, some Muslim countries are not able to do this procedure. Traveling to another country for safe IVF is highly recommended. Fortunately, Iran is one of the countries where IVF is allowed. Annually many people from Muslim countries come to Iran for infertility treatments. Tebmedtourism is the leading fertility agency in Iran that helps infertile Muslim parents to help their dreams come true and have children. Fortunately, Tebmedtourism has no waiting list, and patients can do IVF quickly. The cost is lower than in European countries, while the success rate is equal or even higher. The better quality of care and availability of donor gametes or donor embryos and surrogacy are other advantages of IVF in Iran.
Assisted reproductive technologies have become widely accepted across different continents. IVF is an option that physicians around the globe offer to infertile couples as a method for conception; however, the ethical dilemma of IVF in Islam is much more complicated. The comparison between the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Islamic views of IVF displayed the interaction between religions and assisted reproductive technologies. Islam completely accepts IVF as long as the married couple follows Islamic law. Some Sunni Muslims do not accept gamete or embryo donations, but Shi’ite Muslims are more flexible with gamete and embryo donation and surrogacy. These different perspectives on IVF have influenced society and the application of assisted reproductive technologies in other medical communities. In the Middle East, IVF in Islam is a common practice because Islam has accepted this method of conception, and Islamic law is used to guide the rules of IVF treatment for an infertile couple.