Infertility and Assisted Reproduction in the Muslim Middle East: Social, Religious, and Resource Considerations

Keywords:

Assisted reproduction, IVF, Islam, Muslim Middle East, Turkey, Egypt

M.C. Inhorn1, Z.B. Gürtin2

1William K. Lanman Jr. Professor, Anthropology and International Affairs, Editor, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Council on Middle East Studies, Yale University.

2Research Fellow, Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge.

Abstract

This paper discusses the social, religious, and resource considerations around infertility and the provision of assisted reproductive technologies in the Muslim Middle East. Demonstrating the social need for IVF by millions of invol- untarily childless Muslim men and women, as well as the religious permissibility of the technique according to Islam, we provide the positive examples of Turkey and Egypt regarding how resource concerns may be tackled and access to ARTs broadened. We end the paper by making a call for ARTs and infertility treatments to be incorporated into comprehensive reproductive care regimes, and for reproductive rights to encompass the facilitation as well as the control of fertility.