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Other Possibilities in Human Reproduction discussed by our 'Ulama

It will be of interest to know that our mujtahids are keeping themselves ahead of scientific technology in deciding the religious and ethical issues about human reproduction. While talking about artificial insemination, they also talk of the following possibilities:1

1. It is permissible to invent an artificially made ovum, fertilize it with a man's sperm and let the child develop in an artificial womb. In this case, the child will be fully related to the father. At most, he or she will be a child without a biological mother.

2. It is permissible to invent an artificially made sperm and inseminate it into a woman's womb. Such a child will be fully related to the mother. At most, he or she will be a child without a biological father.

3. It is permissible to take an artificially made ovum and an artificially made sperm, and then fertilize and develop the two in an artificial womb. Such a child will be related to no one!

4. If twin boy and girl are born through the above procedures, then in the first three case they will be normal siblings -for example, they cannot marry one another- but in the fourth case, they will not even be considered as siblings because they do not have a parent.

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1. The first example has been mentioned by both Ayatullahs al-Khu'i and al-Khumayni; whereas the ohter three are mentioned by the latter only. See Minhaj, vol.2, p.395 and Tahrir, vol.2, p.622-3.

Adapted from: "Marriage & Morals in Islam" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi"

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