Is it permissible to have a test tube baby in order to have a male baby?

The Details of the Question
Is it permissible to have a test tube baby in order to have a male baby?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is permissible for a woman who cannot have a child through normal ways to have a test tube baby due to a necessity. However, it is not permissible for a woman who can have a child through normal ways to have a test tube baby because it is not permissible for a woman to show her private parts to others unless there is a necessity. Therefore, the application of test tube baby is not permissible for a woman who has children in order to have a male child.   

Islam gives great importance to the preservation of the generation. Therefore, illegitimate relationships, especially fornication, are forbidden in all true religions and are regarded as something ugly. The way to marriage has always been kept open in order to close the way to fornication. It is necessary to deal with the issue of test tube baby from this point of view at first.

*Test tube baby” is applied in two ways. The first one takes place between the same husband and wife. Since there exists no danger of mixing of the generation and since it depends on a necessity, it is legitimate and permissible. It is as follows:

The canal between the uterus and the ovary is called the “tube”. The matured egg needs to pass through this canal, that is, the tube and reach the uterus and then wait for the sperm coming from the father. However, in some cases, the tube is blocked; therefore, the egg cannot reach the uterus and meet the sperm cells. Therefore, the fertilization that is necessary for the formation of the child does not take place.

A woman whose tube is blocked can make use of this innovation of medicine and have a child as follows:

The egg cell in the ovary is taken into a specially built tube after it becomes mature. This egg cell is fertilized by the sperm cell taken from the father and after one and a half days pass, the zygote (the first phase of the fetus) that forms is placed into the uterus. Then, the child completes its development in the uterus. As it is seen, in this case, the sperm cells belong to the husband and the egg belongs to his wife.

As for the type of test tube baby that is not legitimate and that is not regarded permissible by our religion, there are some women that cannot bear a child even through the method of test tube due to some reasons like emaciation or a disease. Some women cannot bear a baby because of the surgical removal of their uterus. In this case, the sperm cells from the father are fertilized by the egg cells from a third woman in a tube. After the fertilization takes place in the tube, it is placed into the uterus of the same woman if possible or another woman if it is not possible. After a certain period, the baby is born. In this case, the father is there but the mother is a third woman.  

Another type of test tube baby is as follows:

Sometimes, a couple cannot have a child due to an illness of the husband. In this case, the woman is sound and healthy and she can bear a child. However, the father cannot have a child. This time, sperm cells from another man and egg cells from the woman are fertilized in a tube and then the fertilized egg is placed into the uterus of the woman. After a certain time, the baby is born.

In both cases, whether the egg is taken from another woman or the sperm is taken from another man, the mother or the father of the baby is someone outside the marriage. This type of test tube baby, that is, when the father or the mother is someone outside the marriage, is regarded as a kind of adultery because it eliminates the concept of honor and family privacy. 

This type of test tube method is applied especially in foreign countries. The type of test tube that is carried out under the permission and supervision of the Ministry of Health in Turkey today is the first type, which is regarded as permissible in Islam.

Marriage was made legitimate in order to ensure the continuation and health of the generation. Our religion does not regard it legitimate to have children outside marriage. Besides, those who intend to do it are those that do not consent to divine determination. Muslims keep away from such illegitimate treatments because the following divine orders are the greatest source of consolation for them:

To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills (and plans). He bestows (children) male or female according to His Will (and Plan). Or He bestows both males and females, and He leaves barren whom He will: for He is Full of knowledge and power...”1

1. ash-Shura, 49-50.

Mehmed Paksu - Helal – Haram

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