I’m a university student, currently studying biology and in my study, I learnt about diseases which are heritable, so that the parents may not have the disease or problem but the children can have a very great chanceof acquiring it. Some of these diseases are so destructive that they can cause babies to die as infants or not survive at all. So there is this procedure where the sex gametes of parents are taken and prepared in a test tube or the like. And then they check if the baby in the test tube will be disease free or not. If it is, then they implant the child into the womb and it grows there. I was just wondering if this procedure is permissible in Islam, especially for those couples who wish for children but don’t want the child to die in infancy or wish for the child to be in pain.
Note: that the chances of a disease free child can be almost 25%. Hence there only one child in four will survive. This can be emotionally and physically hard on parents. Not counting the fact that this is a chance, and sometimes parents can have ten children and all can pass away.
Wa Alaikum Assalaam,
الجواب و بالله التوفيق
Some Scholars have allowed In Vitro Pregnancy in extreme cases of necessity when it becomes the last resort for a couple. This allowance is subjected to the following conditions:
- The woman cannot become pregnant at all through the normal/usual way of conjugal union with the husband. This means that if a woman can become pregnant through conjugal union with the husband, then In Vitro Pregnancy will not be allowed.
- Where it is allowed, then the sperm must be taken from the husband and the egg to be fertilized must be from the wife.
- After the egg is fertilized (with the husband’s sperm), it must be implanted only in the wife’s uterus. It cannot be implanted in the uterus of another woman.
Based on what you have explained, in my humble opinion, In Vitro Pregnancy will not be allowed in the case which you have asked about. The reasons for this are:
- It is not evident that the wife is unable to become pregnant through conjugal union with the husband.
- The diseases which you have indicated towards may or may not come to the children. This is only a possibility that exists. As you have stated, the parents do not have the disease, therefore, it is not certain that the children may acquire it. Simply, on account of a possibility, the allowance of IVF will not be given.
- You have mentioned that if the baby in the test tube is ‘disease free’, then the child will be implanted into the womb of the wife (mother) and it grows there. But what if the baby in the test tube contracted the disease, what will be done to the baby? Will it be destroyed? Will it be left alone to die in the test tube? Will it be discarded? These questions need to be answered. This entire system shows that it is a ‘test run’ that is taking place. Such cannot be done with human lives/babies.
As for the fear of a baby acquiring diseases, research has shown that through In Vitro Fertilization, babies are more prone to contracting diseases. Regarding this, in an article written by Katie Moisse, dated February 23rd 2010 in ‘Scientic America’, it states, ‘Test tube babies may face greater health risks than natural conceived children – Research shows that children born with the help of reproductive technology might be at a higher risk for genetic defects leading to chromic disorders.’
And Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Waseem Khan.