Monday, June 18, 2012

Q&A: 'Using Surrogate Women' by Sheikh Ata' Abu Rashta

The following is the translation of an Arabic Q&A from the website of Sheikh Ata' Abu Rashta.
[1] A surrogate woman has accepted to carry the child of a wife who is unable to bear children naturally or through any other means…is that permitted? Please note that the man and woman [s: unable to have the child] are married and it is the woman’s egg.[1]
[2] What if the surrogate woman is the second wife of the husband? Are there any means and circumstances that would allow for this [s: treatment]? The reason is that the husband threatens his first wife with divorce if she does not agree to transfer her fertilised egg to his second wife.
It is not permitted to take the sperm of the husband with the egg (buwayda) of the wife, fertilise it in a laboratory and then implant the fertilised egg (buwayda mukhsiba) into a surrogate woman (imra’a badila)…this is not allowed and it is haram. In fact, it would be mandatory to return the fertilised egg to the mother whose egg it is. And this is because of Allah Most High saying {The mothers shall breastfeed their children for two whole years…}[2]. The angle of deduction here is in joining the words “mothers” (al-walidat) with the word “their children” (awladahunna) meaning: the one who gives birth to a child, that child becomes her child. This means it is not permitted for a woman to give birth to another’s child. There is also Allah Most high saying in the noble verse: {No-one can be their mothers except those who gave birth to them…}[3] and in the noble verse {And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing…}.[4] So, the point is that only the mother may give birth to her child. Thus, a woman may only give birth to her child and not that of any another. There is no circumstance that will allow someone to commit this unlawful action even if the woman was threatened with divorce or some other threat. It would be better in this case to suffer the threat [s: either of divorce or any other threat] than to proceed on a sin.
In conclusion, if treatment is necessary and the fertilized egg from the wife is fused with her husband’s sperm in the laboratory, then the fertilized egg must be implanted into the womb of the wife only and not a surrogate woman – even if it happens to be the womb of the husband’s second wife – otherwise it would be haram.[5]
9th Safar 1433
 [And Allah alone knows best]
Translator: s.z.c.

[1] This is known as gestational surrogacy, i.e. the implantation of a previously fertilised egg into the womb of a woman that may or may not be genetically related. Thus, this surrogate woman carries and then delivers a child for another couple. This is a form of assisted reproductive technology for reproductively challenged persons. See W. P. Hummel, Miscarriage and the Successful Pregnancy, p.150. 
[2] Q. 2:233
[3] Q. 58:2.
[4] Q. 16:78.
[5] This is known as traditional surrogacy where the sperm of the husband is fused with the wife’s egg and implanted into the wife’s womb for the complete gestation periods until delivery. For an assessment of this reality, refer to the fatwa of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadim Zallum (ra), Islamic Verdict on Cloning, pp.37-41 (English).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Women are not required to breastfeed their infants. That's why we have formula milk and mordi'at.