What Is the Status of Frozen Embryos in Islam

CategoriesMedical & Health [51]

Fatwa ID: 04754

Answered by: Mufti Eunus Ali

 

Question:

 

Assalamu Alaikum.
I would like to what is the status of frozen embryos in Islam? If one is done with children, and if the person decides to dispose of the extra frozen embryos, will that be like abortion/murder? Is disposing of embryos a crime? Please advise what is the shariah ruling on this.

 

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

 

 

Answer:

 

As this is a contemporary there is no unanimous answer.

 

The Islamic Fiqh Council belonging to the Organization of the Islamic Conference has issued a statement on this matter. The text follows: 

1-    In the light of what has happened of the possibility of keeping unfertilized eggs to be used later on, when fertilizing eggs it must be limited to the required number for implantation each time, to avoid an excess of fertilized eggs (as there is a possibility that the embryos may be mixed up with others and then used by a different person and this is not permissible).

 

2-    If there are any extra fertilized eggs – for any reason – they should be left without medical care until they die naturally.

 

3-    It is haraam to use fertilized eggs in another woman, and sufficient precautions must be taken to prevent using fertilized eggs for an illegitimate pregnancy.[1] 

 

According to the above text, it will not be permissible to freeze the embryos for later use.

 

The disposing of the extra embryos will not be considered as murder/abortion because:

 

It is narrated from Abdullah bin Masud (may Allah be pleased with him): Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), the true and truly inspired said, “A human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into him. So, a man amongst you may do good deeds till there is only a cubit between him and Paradise and then what has been written for him decides his behaviour and he starts doing (evil) deeds of the people of the (Hell) Fire. And similarly, a man amongst you may do (evil) deeds till there is only a cubit between him and the (Hell) Fire, and then what has been written for him decides his behaviour, and he starts doing deeds of the people of Paradise.”[2]

 

From the above Hadith it is evident that the soul is put into foetus only after approximately 120 days, hence before that period of time it will not be considered as a ‘being.’

 

Only Allah knows best

Written by Mufti Eunus Ali

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

 

 

[1] Refer to Majallat Majma’ al-Fiqh al-Islami

[2] Saheeh Bukhari, Hadith 3208

 

 

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