Embryo Reduction: Islamic View

Embryonic or fetal reduction is performed in order to eliminate, in case of multiple pregnancy, an embryo or foetus or several of them without interrupting the development of the others. The effect, therefore, is to eliminate a potential human person where there can be serious moral and psychological consequences for the mother and family. It should not be undertaken unless there is no other possible course of action, and the motive is of exceptional gravity.
The sixth conference of the Islamic Fiqh Academy Board in Saudi Arabia, held in 17-23 Sha`ban 1410 A.H./14-20 March 1990 A.C, reviewed and discussed the submitted researches pertaining to the topic “Embryo Reduction”:
“This is one of the topics discussed in the sixth medical symposium held in Kuwait, 23-26 Rabi` Al-Awwal 1410 A.H.\23-26 October, 1990 A.C, in cooperation with this Academy and the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences. Both have decided the following:
First: In light of the scientific progress, ovums can be kept and preserved unfertilized, and this enables man to take any of them when needed. When fertilization is desired, the number of ovums should be limited to the number of children needed each time. This saves any surplus ovums from being destroyed or reduced.
Second: If any surplus ovums were fertilized by mistake, they should be left without any medical care till they die in a normal way.
Third: It is prohibited in Islam to use the fertilized ovum in a woman other than the original mother. Sufficient procedures have to be taken in order to prevent making any woman pregnant through using the fertilized ovum of another woman.”