A divorcee or widow planting an egg fertilized by her former husband in her womb
We reviewed request no. 642 for the year 2004 which includes the following questions:
- A husband and wife fertilized an egg and stored it in a fertility clinic. Since then, they have separated through divorce. Now, the wife would like to have the fertilized egg planted in her womb.
- A husband and wife fertilized an egg and stored it in a fertility clinic. Now, the husband has passed away and the wife would like to have the fertilized egg planted in her womb.
What is the legal ruling for these two scenarios?
It is not permissible for a wife to try to have an egg planted in her womb when the fertilized egg comes from another woman. This applies whether the egg was fertilized by her husband or someone else and whether it comes from a woman completely foreign to the couple or a co-wife married to her husband.
The Islamic Research Assembly issued decision no. 1, dated 29/3/2001, that 'womb renting' is unlawful.
Similarly, it is unlawful for a woman to use the sperm of her deceased husband since upon his death she ceases to be his wife. This is because death severs marital ties and consequently she becomes foreign to him. Likewise, when contemporary jurists researched the subject of 'womb renting' during an Islamic conference on medical issues, their opinion was unanimous that it is unlawful.
Based on the above, it impermissible for an irrevocably divorced woman to plant an egg fertilized by her former husband in her womb since marital relations ended with the irrevocable divorce. If divorce was not irrevocable [and she can be taken back], there is no legal prohibition against having an egg fertilized by her husband planted in her womb during the waiting period – but with the condition that her husband who fertilized the egg agrees since marital relations remain during the duration of the waiting period.
It impermissible for an egg fertilized by the husband’s sperm after his death to be planted in his widow’s womb because marital relations ceased with his death.
God Most High knows best.