In Vitro Fertilization IVF

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     IVF and other assisted reproductive techniques are widely spread worldwide and are able to treat most types of infertility. Islamic world has been enclosed to modern techniques for many years, delaying thus the implementation of modern reproductive technologies due to the prejudice that Islamic teachings would disapprove assisted reproduction.
     In short, Islam, a monotheistic religion, emerged 1400 years ago, based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad (570 – 632 B.C). Basically the word Islam means “submission” and at the core of this religious belief lays human’s complete surrender under the power of Allah. Islamic dogmas blend the dogmas of the Christianity and Judaism but consider those religions a distortion of the word of God. Born in Mecca, the prophet lived his early life as a salesman, as he was travelling in the desert he had an epiphany- Allah revealed himself to Mohammed as the one and only God and instructed him to carry on his eternal message to the world.
     According to the Islamic law, a law based on Muhammad’s teachings, Sharia, the Muslim man is polygamous and marriage is a social contract between a man and another man who sells him a woman, therefore the man becomes the owner of the woman, just as he is the owner of his land and other goods. Moreover he cam have as many women as he wants, there are no laws to limit the number of wives that one Muslim can have, there are however rather economical limitations.
     The Muslim woman, however must to be monogamous and she cannot marry a person of other religion, unlike the Muslim man who is allowed to marry a Jewish, Christian, etc. woman.
     In the nowadays Islamic societies there are laws which try to better the woman’s social status, Quaranic legislation:
          Forbids the pre-Islamic tradition of burring alive a female new-born.
          Marriage became a respected institution which gained dignity and importance.
          There have been created laws which allow the women to have possessions.
          There are laws which allow a woman to take care of her own health, prior to the marriage, during the marriage and after divorce.
          The woman’s right to be fed, and dressed on her husband’s expense. In the law of the divorce, in order to better women’s situation, a 3 months accommodation period called idda, is stipulated.
     Islamic laws are extremely strict when it comes to sexual intercourse; sex is the privilege of the married couples, premarital and extramarital sex is strictly forbidden. Sex must be avoided with all costs during menstruation, after the birth, after diseases or disabilities. Homosexual intercourse is strictly forbidden. Adultery is still severely punished, starting with house detention, public dispraise and verbal humiliation.
     The Islamic belief associates marital sex with family values and procreation, therefore it supports only the sexual act which involves man’s penis penetrating woman’s vagina, as it is the only sexual act which can lead to pregnancy, moreover oral and anal sex as well as masturbation are strictly forbidden.
     When it comes to assisted reproduction, Islam offers its total support; when natural procreation fails, the treatment is seen as the couple’s duty and the Islamic laws forbid adoption.
     IVF and ET are only permitted between husband and wife, a third part- the donor is not accepted weather it is a sperm donor, a surrogate mother, an embryo, or an oocyte.
     In the case of divorce or the death of the husband, artificial insemination cannot be made with husband’s sperm. Any medical procedure which involves a donor is considered adultery.
     Unnecessary and /frozen embryos can either be used by the couple or donated for scientific research. Genetic therapy must be confined to diagnosis and therapeutic indications.
     Also, in many Islamic countries contraception is forbidden, as well as abortion and there are only few Islamic countries which allow abortion in extreme life-threatening cases.

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