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FAQs & Fatwas

Fatwa: Conception by in vitro fertilization (IVF)

The Question:

A woman has been married for five years and has a problem conceiving. The physicians advised her to try in vitro fertilization. Is this lawful or unlawful?

The Answer:

There is no legal objection to conception by fertilizing the wife’s egg and the husband’s sperm outside the womb and then implanting it in the wife’s uterus [when the following conditions are met]:

  • it is incontrovertibly established that the egg comes from the wife and the sperm comes from her husband;
  • that fertilization occurred outside her uterus (in a Petri dish);
  • the fertilized ovum was implanted in the wife’s uterus without being replaced or mixed with another sperm sample;
  • there is a medical necessity for it (e.g. either spouse having a disease preventing natural conception, or when it is the only way for the wife to conceive); and
  • it must be carried out by a trustworthy doctor who is a [fertility] specialist.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Question answered on 20 April 2005.

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship.

Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010 and his website, www.SuhaibWebb.com, was voted the best “Blog of the Year” by the 2009 Brass Crescent awards.

Suhaib Webb has lectured extensively around the world including in the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America. Upon returning from his studies in Egypt, Webb lived in the Bay Area, California, where he worked with the Muslim American Society from Fall 2010 to Winter 2011. He currently serves as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston’s Cultural Center (ISBCC).

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