Department     College of Asia Pacific Studies
   Position   Professor
Language English
Publication Date 2013/01
Type Research paper (Academic/Professional Journal)
Peer Review Peer reviewed
Title The ethics of reproductive medicine in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Contribution Type Single Work
Journal Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics (Official Journal of the Asian Bioethics Association)
Volume, Issue, Page 23(1),pp.17-23
Details Reproductive medicine services have been provided at a fairly advanced stage in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and there are currently more than 75 infertility clinics which provide some of the latest technology in the field. From the ethical and religious point of view, Iran has provided a very flexible environment that is quite unique in the Middle East as well as the Muslim nations in general. This flexibility is mainly related to the role of ijtihad in Shi’a Islam where new rulings can be extracted by Shi’a jurists to facilitate the use of technologies that may be banned by traditional Islamic rulings. The possibility of temporary marriage in Shi’a has also helped legitimize the third party donation of gametes for treatment of infertility. The Supreme Leader in Iran has issued a series of fatwas that played a big role in legitimization of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and the use of third party donated gametes for infertile couples in Iran. The problem is that infertility clinics have gained a large control over the ethical aspects of these services while their major focus is on a higher success rate. Also by keeping the donor and recipient information “anonymous” or “confidential” in order to avoid troublesome frictions, the identity of children may not be well protected as in original Islamic teachings. The infertile couples on the other hand are mainly concerned with the continuity and “purity” of their lineage and do not receive proper consultation to make ethically sound decisions. There is also a large potential of misconduct and misuse of technology over financial pay-offs, and therefore the lack of an ethical and legal system to protect the rights of concerned parties is quite worrisome. With the recent trend of the government away from population control and towards higher fertility rates, there is little hope that ethical and legal limits may be devised to regulate the activity of infertility clinics in the near future.
Note: Keywords: Assisted reproductive technologies (ART), In vitro fertilization (IVF), Iran, Medical ethics, Reproductive medicine, Shi’a Islam
ISSN 1173-2571