A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF ARTIFICIAL HUMAN REPRODUCTION: AN ISLAMIC LAW PERSPECTIVE (ISLAMIC AND ARABIC PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS)
Reproductive rights attained recognition at the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) with the proclamation that reproductive rights embraces “the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health and the right to make decisions on reproduction free from discrimination, coercion or violence” to the effect that women should be free to decide whether and when to have children, exercise their choices without coercion, and be able to obtain the best reproductive health care available, regardless of their personal circumstances.
Reproductive rights therefore, has generated intense discourse and ignited controversies that really seem to dissect all human endeavours. Muslim as an integral part of this discourse have had recourse to Islamic Law to show how it differs from these so-called reproductive rights as enshrined in the various conventions especially the use of artificial methods in human reproduction as they affect the rights and responsibilities between the parents and the resulting child. This research work is particularly concerned with the right to reproductive self-determination especially as represented by the concept of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) which is methods used via scientifically assisted means of possessing progeny. However, the principal aim of this study is to analyze the Islamic perspective to ART and doctrinal methodology was adopted in the study.
Thus, study has attempted an analysis on the concept of Artificial Human Reproduction (AHR) with particular reference to its legal position in Islamic law. It has been highlighted that only certain artificial human reproduction methods can lawfully stand under Islamic law, i.e., artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization on condition that they are to be used as a form of infertility treatment. Thus, Islamic law has provided for the need as well as the legality of employing ART to cure infertility ailment. The study found that ART methods have challenged the traditional notion of the family. They assault the meaning of parenthood by transforming procreation into reproduction and manufacturing of children. These techniques bring about the problem of legitimacy (Nasaba) of the resulting child, right to inheritance (waratha) and maintenance (nafaqa), custody (hadhana) and fosterage (radha’a) – all of which arise out of kinship or legitimate relations.
In view of the legal challenges posed by ART, it has been opined that certain methods such as surrogacy could cause confusion under Islamic law as to the determination of the rights of the child towards its parent and the corresponding responsibilities of the parents towards their children respectively. Consequently, it has been amply recommended that as far Islamic law is concerned, couples are not on a freelance of their own to seek to alleviate their infertility problem by all means possible through surrogacy but regard must be heard to the established principles of the sharia on the integrity of the institution of marriage. Thus, neither the contractual agreement of the couples nor the wishes of the parties to procreate artificially could be allowed to alter the established principles of the sharia on the preservation of lineage just to satisfy infertility grief.