Abortion of babies with genetic diseases

I am currently approximately 6 weeks pregnant. I have a 2-year-old daughter (Zikrah) and a 6-month-old daughter (Malaika). I had many problems in my pregnancy with Malaika from the start, she was very small for the correct dates and the fluid that surrounds the baby in the womb was very low from the start.

I was having ultrasound scans every 4 weeks from 20 weeks onwards. At the 28-week scan it showed that part of the baby’s brain was missing.  I was then made an appointment for the following week at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester for a more detailed scan.

The results confirmed what they have seen at the previous scan and I was told that part of my baby’s brain had not developed and was missing. At first we were told it was a genetic disorder as me and my husband are 1st cousins, and that was most likely the cause. I then made an appointment at Sheffield Royal Hospital for an MRI scan where they would take photos of my baby’s brain, whilst she was still inside my stomach.

The results again showed what we were previously told that part of the back of the brain were missing.

Malaika was born at 35 weeks, 5 weeks early. It was noticed straight away that she was covered in a blue rash, and her head was very small and was taken to intensive care.  Whilst in intensive care numerous blood tests and urine cultures were carried out on Mailaika and she was diagnosed with the condition Congenial CMV (Cytomegalovirus). This is an infection that I caught during the pregnancy and passed onto Malaika. The infection has attacked her major organs including her liver, spleen, brain, platelets, and possibly her vision and hearing (which when she is older, we will know to what extent.)

I also had to give a blood sample, and the results showed that the infection was in my blood too.  As soon as Malaika was diagnosed she was put into a separate room and we were told not to let anyone who was pregnant or trying for a baby visit her, as they could catch the infection from her.  The CMV in Malaikas blood was so high that we were offered a very controversial treatment where she would have to have a line put into her chest and for 2 hours everyday for 6 weeks she would have medicines put into her blood. The doctors were very divided on this, as the treatment could make her a lot worse and it would not repair the damage the infection had done. We decided not to go ahead with the treatment.

Malaika was in intensive care for 29 days.  We were told that the CMV can stay in a childs system for up to 2 a year, and if the levels are very high it has been known to stay for up to 7 years.  We were told, should we want to try for another baby at anytime to get both mine and Malaikas CMV levels checked first as it can be spread via blood, urine, saliva, as in any bodily fluid.

Malaika is currently under the care of Neurologists, liver specialists, audiologist, physio therapy, eye specialists, dieticians, as well as other health professionals. She is on a lot of medication and requires constant care and attention.

She is currently behind in her development, as she is 6 months and is unable to hold her head up and struggles with her digestion. She has a very weakened immune system and is constantly in and out of hospital as she cannot fight off even a minor cough or cold and it could be fatal for her.

My health visitor is currently trying to arrange for me to have some blood tests to check my CMV levels. My main concern is for the health of my unborn baby. I caught the CMV at 28/29 weeks pregnant with Malaika and the damage it has caused is profound, I am very worried that if I still have the infection or if there is a higher than normal risk of me catching it again what damage it could do to this baby in 9 months. I’m worried that even if my results were to come back normal at this moment in time could I catch the infection again from Malaika or because I have had it once would I be immune from it? As far as I am aware nobody can answer these questions, but I will be asking them again when I go for my blood tests.

I don’t know what to do because with Malaika being so unwell, Zikrah (my other child) has been neglected, as Malaika gets the majority of my time and attention. If I was to have another seriously unwell child I would not be able to care for Malaika the same way.

This is the hardest decision I have ever had to make, so please can you help me, and tell me what the best thing would be for my family and my unborn child, in Islam.

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

Answer

It is very unfortunate and sad to hear your story and I pray to Allah that he will make things easy for you. When Allah (SWA) inflicts any hardships or calamity upon anyone, the purpose for this is to either test his true servants as Allah (SWA) in the Holy Quran has said,

“Be sure we shall test you with something of fear, and hunger and some loss of wealth and lives and fruits and glad tidings to those that bear patience”.  (Suarh Baqarah v.156)

Sometimes it so happens for it to be a lesson for the people coming after not to commit that deed again as Allah (SWA) states in the Holy Quran:

“And indeed before you we sent (Messengers) too many nations so we seized them with suffering and adversity so that they may fall into humility.”  (Surah Anaam v.42)

Or these tests can be a means of purification for the pious people.  The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said when a persons sins increases and nothing remains to remove it then Allah (SWA) inflicts this person with such sorrow, which expiates his sins.  (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

I will firstly mention the Islamic ruling with regards to abortion.

According to the Shariah, the soul enters the body 120 days (4 Months) from the day the woman conceived.

It is narrated by Sayyiduna Ibn-Masud (RA) that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said: “the seed of one of you remains in the womb of the mother for forty days in the form of a nutfah (sperm). Then it remains like a clot for another forty days and then for a same number of days like a lump of flesh.” (Sahih Bukhari)

Allahmah Ibn Abideen Shami (RA) has said that the soul enters the foetus at 120 days. (Raddul Muhtar P.336 V.4)

To have an abortion after 120 days is strictly prohibited. The ruling will still remain the same even though the child might be born with some kind of disability or with some genetic diseases.

However, some jurists have given permission to abort the pregnancy where the mother’s life is in absolute danger. In this situation the mother’s life is given preference to that of the child.

To have an abortion prior to 120 days is also impermissible and haraam. However in certain extreme circumstances it would be permitted, such as the mothers life or health is in danger or the woman became pregnant due to rape etc…

With regards to your question, as you are only six weeks pregnant, thus, if a qualified, God-fearing Muslim doctor advises you that there is a certain and definite danger of the child being born disable or with mental damage then it will be permissible to have an abortion

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham.

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