A widow using her dead husband's frozen semen for artificial insemination
Fatwa No: 90358

Question

Thanks a lot for you informative and interesting web site. I have a very important question related to artificial insemination. What is the Islam’s stance on the issue in general? Also, it will be very much appreciated if you deal with the following main points separately:
1) It is Islamicly lawful for the wife to carry out the operation using the dead husband’s frozen sperm that is separately kept in semen banks?
2) It is lawful for the wife to use the semen of the jailed husband in the process if it is really difficult for both to have direct sexual intercourse?
3) What is your comment on the case where the husband’s semen got mixed with that of another person during the process of insemination, but both the husband and wife discovered the bare reality later after delivering the baby?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

The contemporary scholars have different opinions regarding the ruling of keeping a husband's semen in a semen bank for future use to fertilize his wife's ovum.

Some of them are of the opinion that it is allowed provided the fertilization is completed during the life of the husband. Some other scholars allowed the procedure even after the death of the husband but during the widow's waiting period only.

However, there are some other scholars who are of the view that it is absolutely forbidden to keep the husband's semen.

We at Islamweb adopt the last opinion which is that it is prohibited.

Indeed, the Islamic Fiqh Committee has also passed a resolution prohibiting this act as a way of preventing harm, because there is a high probability for the mixing of semen or its misusage, and this may lead to the intermixing of lineages.

Therefore, fertilizing a wife's ovum with her husband's sperm that is kept in a semen bank after his death is not allowed.

There should be no disagreement on this issue because the end of the marital relationship by the death of the husband is like its end by an irrevocable divorce. In fact, there is no disagreement among the scholars that artificial insemination is not allowed after an irrevocable divorce.

As regards fertilizing the wife's ovum by the semen of her imprisoned husband, then it seems - Allaah Knows best – that it is prohibited, firstly because there is no necessity, and secondly, this may result in committing some prohibitions, such as getting the semen of the husband through forbidden acts, like masturbation, for example. Besides, the wife could be suspected about her chastity and she may be accused. It is also possible that she may get pregnant from someone else and claim that the pregnancy is from her husband's semen; there are many other prohibitions.

With regard to the husband's semen being mixed with that of another man, then if the husband is negligent in following up, then he is sinful but the child is traced back to him due to the possibility that the child may be conceived by his semen.

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "The child is for the owner of the bed (i.e. the husband). [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Allaah Knows best.

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