Transferring fertilized embryos aft...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Transferring fertilized embryos after the husband's death


What is the ruling on implanting frozen embryos into a woman's uterus after her husband's death?


Embryo freezing is one of the revolutionary breakthroughs in artificial reproduction. This procedure is conducted in IVF labs under the following conditions:

1- The sperm and ovum must come from a married couple and the fertilized egg must be transferred to the uterus of the wife while the couple is still married.

2- The fertilized egg must be stored in a safe, secure, and carefully monitored environment to prevent any mix-ups, intentional or otherwise, with other stored embryos.

3- The fertilized egg must not be transferred to the uterus of any woman other than the owner of the egg, whether through donation or compensation.

4- The procedure must not involve any risks or side effects such as congenital defects or mental retardation to babies that are born from frozen embryos due to the factors they are subjected to during storage.

If fertilization occurred during the spouses' lifetime with their consent, and then the husband passed away before implanting the fertilized egg into his wife's uterus, there is no religious objection to implanting it into the wife's uterus after her husband's death.

This is because of her desire for offspring, provided that this occurs within her waiting period (iddah) after his death, not afterward. The waiting period is four lunar months and ten days if the husband dies on the first day of the month, or one hundred and thirty full lunar days if it occurs thereafter. This is because the marital bond is not completely severed during the waiting period after the husband's death.

It is important to consider that the transfer of frozen embryos to the wife's uterus requires some preparatory medications to facilitate acceptance by her body, and the transfer usually takes place between the sixteenth to twentieth day of her menstrual cycle thereafter.

The interruption of the marital relationship by the husband's death before implanting the fertilized egg into his wife's uterus does not fully negate the possibility of proceeding with the procedure. There are still some effects, including establishing paternity.

If the fertilized egg is successfully implanted into the wife's uterus during the waiting period, all the rights of the fetus regarding lineage, bequest, inheritance, and others are established, provided that the egg was fertilized during the marital relationship and with the consent of both spouses during their lifetime.

The ruling:

If the wife's egg was fertilized during her husband's lifetime, with the mutual consent of both spouses, and then the husband passed away before it could be implanted into the wife's uterus, and if the wife desires to proceed with the implantation during her waiting period following her husband's death, as previously elucidated, then this action is permissible in accordance with Islamic law. Consequently, all legal rights of the fetus, encompassing lineage, bequest, and inheritance, are duly established. However, once the waiting period concludes, she is not obliged to proceed with the implantation.

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