Contemporary Islamic Views Assisted Reproductive Technology, With Focus On Ivf And Pgd, And Their Basis

1712 words - 7 pages

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART). The process involves fertilization of an egg outside of body. Generally, doctors recommend IVF to couples with male and/or female fertility problems. The technology allows using own genetic material or the one provided by donors and choosing the number of embryos being implanted. Another ART technique, Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), is often used in combination with IVF. The PGD allows parents to select a ‘good’ embryo, which is healthier, with lower miscarriage risk, and more importantly missing some genetic diseases. Meanwhile, all the other ‘bad’ or ‘not good enough’ embryos are destroyed. As a ...view middle of the document...

They suggest that Qur’an or sunnah does not explicitly talk about IVF or any similar technology. Therefore, Muslim scholars viewed it as a type of sexual intercourse. Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) Council concluded that IVF can occur only between married couple without of interference of any third party. Basically, it prohibits the use of donor sperm/egg and surrogacy. Otherwise, the pregnancy will be considered to be the result of adultery.
Similarly, there is no exact mention of PGD technique in religious texts. Zahraa and Shafie base their view on Al-Serour’s report from the International Workshop on ‘Ethical Implications of the Use of ART for Treatment of Infertile Update’. One of the advantages of this workshop was that the standing committee included different schools within Islam. Overall, the board supported the use of PGD for detecting genetic diseases an avoiding abortion. However, the workshop decided to limit the use of PGD for sex selection purposes. This opportunity could only be allowed in rare necessary cases, such as family balancing after several same-sex children. Taking into account the aforementioned, it seems that the majority of Muslim scholars are open for genetic advancement as long as they are used for the benefit of patients and do not directly violate any religious rules. However, it should be mentioned, that the flexibility of scholars had not undergone much changes in nearly a decade. The comparison of conclusions between the previously mentioned workshop and the First International Congress on Bioethics in Human Reproduction Research in the Muslim World (1991) does not seem to present much difference. Nevertheless, the further in-depth examination of different Muslim teaching schools will show that religious scholars do not possess a universal viewpoint on ART.
Previously, the paper looked at the general view of Muslim scholar regarding the ART. However, Islam has numerous sects that tend to contradict sometimes. The major division in Islam is between Sunni and Shi’a. The former is a majority group constituting 90% of all Muslims with major centers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The latter is a minority branch mainly practiced in Iran, parts of Iraq, Lebanon, and some other countries. Inhorn discusses the acceptance of IVF by these two sects. She argues that Sunni stance on this issue is based largely on original fatwa from Al-Azhar University. The Grand Sheikh, His Excellency Hak Ali Gad El Alk, released it in 1980, and it has been maintained since then. In short, the fatwa allows IVF in medically necessary cases. However, the preceding limitation stands – no permission to the third party. Otherwise, the case is considered as zina (adultery) and the child is explicitly called laqith (illegitimate). In addition, Inhorn emphasizes on strict prohibition of gamete donation. She states that Sunni Muslims are afraid of ‘stranger to enter the family’, which stems from third-party donation.
In contrast, Shi’ite Muslims...

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