10 October, 2018
As-salamu `alaykum. Dear Sheikh, we read in a news story that a couple had given birth to a baby boy who was conceived using 21-year-old sperm. The boy's father had his sperm frozen when he was 17 before undergoing treatment for testicular cancer, which made him infertile. At that time, the man was still single. The man's sperm was frozen until he got married and wanted to start a family. It was thawed and then injected into his partner's ovum. The baby was conceived after their fourth attempt at IVF. In the light of Islam, can a wife be artificially inseminated with sperm that was taken from her husband before their marriage?
Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
The act referred to in the question is impermissible as the sperm was taken before marriage, and the wife at the time the sperm was taken was not lawful for the husband.
Responding to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada states,
This is not considered permissible according to the principles of Islam, for the sperm was taken when he was still not married to the woman whose eggs were injected with the sperm. She was, therefore, not lawful for him at that time.
In Islam, the sperm and the egg must be both extracted and united while the man and woman are lawfully married. That was not the case at the time of extracting the sperm in this case.
A wife, according to Islam, can only be inseminated with sperm that is taken from her husband while she is married to him, and not when they were not lawfully married.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.