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Subject : ٌٌٌRuling on Medical Procedures Determining the Sex of the Unborn Child

Fatwa Number : 733

Date : 11-05-2010

Classified : Medicine & seeking treatment

Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa


Question :

Letter from HE the President of the Legislation and Opinion Bureau on the Law of the Techniques of the Medically Assisted Reproduction?



The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

The Iftaa` Council has considered the Draft Law of the Techniques of the Medically Assisted Reproduction through IVF. The Council members have addressed this issue from its different angles and went over the opinions of the jurists on this issue during the conferences of the Islamic Fiqh Academy held in Amman, 8-13 Safar, 1407, corresponding to 11-16 October, 1986. Some have opposed IVF while some were in favour. Those who opposed said that it involves the following violations of  Sharia:

1. Frequent uncovering of a woman`s anterior and posterior pudenda for a reason upon which her life isn`t really dependant.

2. Fearing the mixing of lineages during the fertilization process where errors are likely to occur and could even be driven by corruption. The latter phenomenon has invaded almost all countries, so they created anti-corruption bodies to address it. It is feared that the husband`s sperm or the wife`s egg could be replaced at the request of one of them or the doctor`s desire to show his ability to treat infertility to make a name for himself. 

Nevertheless, the majority of the jurists have acknowledged the test-tube babies considering man`s desire to have children, which is close to his desire to live, and preserving life is one of the five necessities. In addition, it is feared that spouses could conduct this procedure in non-Muslim states where the rules of Sharia aren`t taken into consideration. However, jurists who permitted this procedure have stipulated taking strict precautions to prevent mixing of lineages and avoiding any violations Sharia as much as possible. This is in light of the Sharia maxim: "Necessity must be assessed and answered proportionately."

As regards determining the sex of the unborn child through IVF, this isn`t a necessity that makes violating Sharia lawful since both the male and female baby represent a continuation of one`s offspring. It suffices that Prophet Mohammad`s offspring was extended through his daughter Fatima Al-Zahraa` (May Allah be pleased with her). In addition, hatred for a female child is an act of Jahiliyah (Times of ignorance) that Allah has condemned where He Said {What means}: " When news is brought to one of them, of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people, because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain it on (sufferance and) contempt, or bury it in the dust? Ah! what an evil (choice) they decide on?" {An-Nahil, 58-59}. This celebration of women is the pride of Sharia, and wasn`t realized by non-Muslim countries until centuries later and they even failed to apply it properly.

We have noticed that spouses who had only male children didn`t seek to have a female child through IVF while those who had only female children were eager to use IVF to have a male child.

Based on this, the Iftaa` Council has arrived at the following:

1. Determining the sex of the unborn child through IVF for the person who has the ability to beget children without using this method isn`t permissible.

2. There is no sin in choosing the sex of the unborn child for the person who can`t beget children save through IVF since, in this case, violations of Sharia will inevitably occur.

3. According to the medical community, there are other methods for determining the sex of the unborn child without violating Sharia and they are permissible. For example, through the food system, the vaginal wash, the timing of the intercourse, and eating certain foods. 

4. Choosing the sex of the unborn child to avoid genetic diseases that affect only the males to  the exclusion of the females or vice versa. In this case, intervention is permissible for treatment necessities, provided that the established controls of Sharia are observed, and it is approved by a medical committee made up of at least three trustworthy doctors whose decision is unanimous and confirms the need for medical intervention to protect the fetus from genetic diseases.

5. The Council recommends having direct and strict oversight over hospitals and medical centers that conduct IVF so as to avoid violating Sharia. And Allah The Almighty Knows Best.  






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