Surrogacy In Islam : Is It Allowed Or Not?

Surrogacy
Photo by Deon Black

The surrogacy method has long been a long debate among Islamic scholars. Among Shia Muslims, this method is seen as assisted reproduction that can fulfill the dream of many couples struggling to conceive a baby naturally.

On the other hand, Sunni scholars state that this technique is entirely haram in Islam hence forbidding married couples to undergo the procedure. In addition, Muslim scholars and clerics view surrogacy as similar to “Zina” or adultery because the surrogate mother is carrying a baby from someone who is not her husband.

In 1407 H / 1986, the Islamic Fiqh Academy Council finally issued a fatwa related to this surrogacy issue. After reviewing all research on the topic of “artificial insemination” and listening to the opinions of experts and doctors, the Islamic Fiqh Council decided that five forms of artificial insemination are prohibited, and only two are allowed in Islam.

Here are five methods that are prohibited as they confuse (ikhtilly al-ansyb):

  1. Fertilization occurs between the sperm taken from the husband and the egg taken from another woman who is not his wife; then, the fertilized ovum is implanted into his wife’s womb (egg donor).
  2. Fertilization occurs between the sperm taken from another man who is not her husband and the egg taken from the wife, and then the fertilized ovum is implanted into the wife’s womb (sperm donor).
  3. Fertilization occurs between the husband’s sperm and the wife’s egg (the biological material taken from legitimate spouses whose fertilization occurs in vitro). Then, the fertilized ovum is implanted into the surrogate mother’s womb (surrogacy method).
  4. In-vitro fertilization occurs between another man’s sperm and another woman’s egg (sperm and egg donor). The fertilized ovum is implanted into the womb of the wife of the couple who wants to have children.
  5. In-vitro fertilization between the husband’s sperm and wife’s egg (the biological material taken from legitimate spouses), then the fertilized ovum is implanted in the womb of another man’s wife (surrogacy method).

Meanwhile, two artificial insemination procedures are allowed in Islam, including:

  1. Fertilization between the husband’s sperm and the wife’s egg (the biological material taken from legitimate spouses) is fertilized outside the wife’s body (in vitro). Then, the fertilized ovum is implanted into the wife’s womb.
  2. Fertilization from the husband’s sperm is inserted mechanically into his wife until fertilization occurs in the wife’s body.

From the explanation above, it can be concluded that Islamic scholars agree surrogacy method for conceiving is prohibited in Islam even though the sperm and the egg are taken from legitimate spouses. One of the reasons is confusion in identifying the child’s mother because there is a third party (surrogate mother).

The confusion of nasab (lineage) of children to be born is contrary to one of the objectives of sharia, which is hifz al-Nasl (to protect the lineage). Furthermore, if the surrogacy method is allowed will undoubtedly cause other problems such as disputes between all those involved in claiming the child is theirs or the possibility of inbreeding between children resulting from the surrogacy method.

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