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Is Freezing Unfertilized Eggs for Future Use Permissible?

12 July, 2020
Q As-salamu `alaykum. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to ask my question to a scholar. I kindly ask your opinion as it is very important for me to know the Islamic view. My question is: as a practicing doctor of medicine, I kindly ask your opinion if there are any religious reasons speaking against the operative extraction and freezing of one’s own unfertilized eggs to maintain fertility. These could be used for later reimplantation after being fertilized with the sperm of one’s own husband at a later time in life. And does the reason for the extraction and freezing of egg cells make a difference? Three scenarios come to mind: 1) The woman, in her mid-thirties considering her age and still unmarried wants to save her fertility for her future husband. 2) The woman who could have children now wants to delay conception and have children later for personal reasons like studying, pursuing her career or traveling the world etc. 3) The woman, who for medical reasons (cancer/chemotherapy), cannot have children at this moment but wants to after remission. Can you, please, provide me with the Islamic fatwa concerning the above cases with proofs?

Answer

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa bahmatullahi 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:

1- It is not permissible for an unmarried woman extract her eggs. Also, a studying couple can resort to safe ways of contraception other than this debatable means.

2- It is allowable for a married woman suffering from medical problems to use this method.


In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Extracting eggs from an unmarried woman

The World Council of Muslim Jurists ruled that it is not permissible to extract eggs from an unmarried woman to use it after marriage. They allow fertilization only when both the egg and sperm are taken from the married couple while they are still in valid marriage.

In the scenario, you described, since the woman is still single, fertilization is not allowed.

It is permissible for men and women who are studying to resort to safe methods of contraception. So, there is no need for them to resort to this questionable method.

Since the procedure may involve risks or abuses and the possibility of mixing and interfering with the lineage, it is not permissible, according to the scholars.

As for the third scenario, it would be permissible only when they are still in a valid marriage and when there are proper safeguards in place to preempt any abuse.

The above ruling is in conformity with the principle of sadd adh-dhara’i` (closing the doors to the forbidden.)

I pray that Allah keeps us content with what He has permitted.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.