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ABSTRACT


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

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