Clearing the air over frozen embryos


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 08 May 2003

By SA’ODAH ELIAS

PUTRAJAYA: Islam allows the use of frozen embryos in conjunction with other assisted reproductive techniques for married couples facing difficulties in having children through normal conception. 

The National Fatwa Council clarified that the use of frozen embryo fell into the same category as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), which has been deemed acceptable by the council since 1982. 

Council chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim said the matter needed to be clarified because there had been some questions on the use of new assisted reproductive techniques. 

Dr Ismail, however, said that there were several additional rules that should be adhered to by couples in the use of the frozen embryo programme before it was acceptable.  

“The most important rule is that the embryo can only be used if the couple are still legally married and alive. 

“This means that if there is a divorce, or a death involving one party, the frozen fertilised embryos must be destroyed as they are no longer the legitimate seed of the couple,” he told reporters after chairing the council meeting to discuss the issue yesterday. 

 

Recently, a Muslim couple had made public their success in using the frozen embryo programme to conceive two children. 

 

Architects Shahruddin Mohamad and Khasnor Abdul Karim from Sungai Buloh, who already have three children through IVF, had their last two children through the frozen embryo programme. 

 

“Islam considers the process of reproduction and the birth of a baby as something sacred. Thus, although the use of assisted reproductive techniques are allowed, all efforts must be taken to prevent any mix-up that could render the status of a child born through this programme questionable under Islamic law,” Dr Ismail said.  

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