Thursday, January 4, 2007

Islamic perspectives on in vitro fertilization

I was on the AskIslam web site ( recently, and thought it worthwhile to transcribe the following statement made by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) regarding in vitro fertilization, located on the site (the audio is linked here). Notice that Hazoor’s answer actually generalizes to broader issues concerns the philosophy and purpose of reproductive procedures in general, and also touches upon the evolution of sexual behavior. (Any errors in transcription are my own, and I take responsibility for them).


8 August 1984

The London Mosque

Does Islam permit in vitro fertilization and other laboratory reproductive procedures?

Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh answered:

“You know in principle, if a husband’s sperm is conveyed to his wife’s uterus through any means, there shouldn’t be any objection – legal objection – from an Islamic point of view. It is for the sanctity and purity of [the] human race that such orders are made (number one), and also for fixing the responsibility; because sex is not a direct objective of life. Look at it from [a] natural point of view or from [a] religious point of view, the answer would be one and the same: everything which is productive and useful…acquires some sort of taste and some pleasure. So that is why all the most important things for life have acquired some pleasure. But because the objective was important, pleasure ultimately became the objective for some human beings (erroneously) and they forgot that the pleasure was a development – according to scientists, maybe – of billions of years of evolution in some direction, and according to the religious philosophy, a development which was ordained and pre-designed and pre-directed.

But whatever way you look at it, the pleasure attached to human acts [is] in fact directly related to the importance of those acts. If they serve humanity, somehow [and] in some way, then pleasure is added to it, and vice versa. This is the general rule. So in this case, the second important thing is to bring up the future generation with this responsibility, and that responsibility has to be divided among the people. That is one object of sex. So the Holy Qur’an divides that responsibility according to set rules, and the husband has to bear the responsibility of the upbringing of the entire children. If a mother can participate of [her own] volition, there is no objection, but in principle it is [the] father’s responsibility. So anything, any scientific research, which does not violate these two fundamental objectives of reproduction, Islam does not have any objection against them. Whatever way [by which] the experiments take place, if purity of race and [the] sharing of responsibility – these are the two main objectives – if they are not violated in any way by a scientific experiment, Islam will have no objection against it.”

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