Question # 184: Is it permissible in Islam to go for IVF procedure if there is delay in natural pregnancy (In Vitro fertilization)?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Artificial insemination or fertilization is permissible in Islam, according to the edicts of the various fiqh assemblies with the condition that no third party, other than the spouses (husband and wife) is introduced into the process of fertilization, such as eggs coming from another woman, or another woman acting as a surrogate mother, or sperm coming from another man, then fertilization in such cases is haram, because it is regarded as zina (adultery). In other words, it is allowed to perform In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), as long as the sperm comes from the husband, the ovum comes from the wife, and the zygote is implanted in the same wife’s womb. In this case, it is mandatory that the laboratory performing this procedure is properly chosen to ensure non-mixing of the ova or sperms that would lead to intermingling of pedigrees. Moreover, fertilizing excess eggs should be avoided and if there are any extra fertilized eggs, for any reason, these should be left without medical care to die naturally. 

Long Answer: Artificial insemination, or what is known as test-tube babies, takes many forms, some of which are permissible and some are haram. This matter has been studied by the Islamic Fiqh Council (Majma’ al-Fiqh al-Islami), who issued the following statement [on 8 – 13 Safar 1407 AH (11–16 October 1986)]:

  • The following five methods are forbidden according to shari’ah [because it is regarded as zina (adultery).] They are forbidden either in and of themselves, or because of their consequences such as mixing lineages, not knowing who the child’s mother is, or other reasons that are objectionable according to shari’ah:
  1. When fertilization takes place between sperm taken from the husband and an egg taken from a woman who is not his wife, then the embryo is placed in his wife’s womb.
  2. When fertilization takes place between sperm taken from a man who is not the husband, and an egg taken from the wife, then the embryo is placed in the womb of the wife.
  3. When fertilization is done externally between the sperm and egg of the couple, then the embryo is placed in the womb of a woman who volunteers to carry it (“surrogate motherhood”).
  4. When fertilization is done externally between the sperm of a man who is not the husband and the egg of a woman who is not the wife, then the embryo is placed in the womb of the wife.
  5. When fertilization is done externally between the sperm and egg of the two spouses, then the embryo is placed in the womb of another wife (of the husband).
  • The sixth and seventh methods are acceptable as a last resort in cases of necessity, when it is certain that all necessary precautions have been taken. These two methods are:
  1. When the sperm is taken from the husband and an egg is taken from the wife, fertilization is done externally, then the embryo is planted in the womb of the wife.
  2. When the sperm of the husband is taken and injected into a suitable place in the cervix or womb of the wife so that fertilization may take place internally.

Other reservations that pose a concern in this matter include: the uncovering of the woman’s ‘awrah and most private parts; the possibility of mistakes in the laboratory; the possibility that some weak-minded people in some hospitals may breach their trust and deliberately switch eggs or sperm in order to make the operation a success and earn more material gains. So we have to be extremely cautious when dealing with this matter. (Majallat al-Majma’)

[Further,] the Islamic Fiqh Council belonging to the Organization of the Islamic Conference has issued a statement on this matter. The text follows:

  • In the light of what has happened of the possibility of keeping unfertilized eggs to be used later on, when fertilizing eggs it must be limited to the required number for implantation each time, to avoid an excess of fertilized eggs.
  • If there are any extra fertilized eggs – for any reason – they should be left without medical care until they die naturally.
  • It is haram to use fertilized eggs in another woman, and sufficient precautions must be taken to prevent using fertilized eggs for an illegitimate pregnancy. (Majallat Majma’ al-Fiqh al-Islami, Issue no. 7, Vol. 3)

(The above reply is based on various answers by Islamqa.info on the topic)

Artificial insemination or fertilization is permissible in Islam according to the edicts of the various fiqh assemblies, given they are done for a need, and between a man and his wife. [In other words,] it is allowed to perform In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), as long as the sperm comes from the husband, the ovum comes from the wife, and the zygote is implanted in the same wife’s womb. Any other combination is strictly forbidden. [Moreover, since the part of the process is to freeze some of the fertilized eggs, in case that the ones that are implanted do not survive,] one has to be sure that nothing remains, if the implanted ones end up developing and surviving; [consequently,] other fertilized eggs and semen should be destroyed. [In this case,] it is mandatory that the laboratory performing this procedure is properly chosen to ensure non-mixing of the ova or sperms that would lead to intermingling of pedigrees. (Fatawa of Dr. Salah Al-Sawy and Dr. Hatem al-Haj, Members of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam