What is the ruling of using surrogate mother as an effort to get a child for husband and wife that are having problems to conceive?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
It is undeniable that one of the purposes of marriage is to be able to have children, to continue the lineage and future generations. Currently, there are numerous modern medical methods for couples that are having difficulty to conceive due to several health factors or others.
One of the methods is through surrogate mother, where the sperm and ovum of the couple are extracted and fertilized in a lab before transferring it to the womb of another woman. The usual practice is to pay a certain amount to ‘rent’ the womb of the other woman.
The Ruling of using Surrogate Mother to Conceive
The surrogate mother is a method used and proven to be effective in conceiving a child. However, what is Islam’s perspective regarding this issue? Is this method in accordance with Islamic law?
Surrogate mother method can be done in several ways, the following are the summary of the methods used in surrogate mother:
- The sperm and ovum of the couple are fertilized in a lab before being transferred to the womb of another ajnabi woman.
- The sperm and ovum of the couple are fertilized in a lab before it is transferred to the womb of the man’s other wife (in polygamy cases).
- The sperm and ovum are taken from a different man and woman and is transferred to a womb of another woman and after the child is delivered, the child is given to the couple that wants a child.
- The sperm of the husband is fertilized with the ovum of an ajnabi woman, and the woman will carry the child and after she delivers the baby, the baby will be handed to the couple and money will be given to the woman as compensation of carrying and delivering the baby.
- The ovum of the wife is fertilized with another ajnabi man’s sperm and then transferred to the womb of another ajnabi woman and after the child is delivered, the child is handed to the couple that wants the child and payment is made to the surrogate mother.
The five methods stated above are prohibited by the consensus of scholars.
This is in accordance with the decision made by international fatwa bodies such as the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (Saudi Arabia) and also the Islamic Research Institute (Egypt). The Islamic Research Institute through their fatwa which was issued through Egypt's Dar al-Ifta mentions:
“As for renting of Womb, it is ruled as PROHIBITED by Islamic law. Islamic Research Institute issued decision number 1 on 29th March 2001 that prohibits womb renting. Contemporary fiqh scholars agreed on its prohibition. One of the reasons is the inability to identify who is the mother of the child, for there is a third party (the owner of the womb rented). This leads to the question of who is the rightful mother of the child? Is it the woman whose ovum is the start of the development of the fetus until a complete child is formed, or the woman whose womb is the place where all of the fetal development takes place until it forms a complete child? This huge dispute and debate contradict the purpose and meaning behind Islam’s commandments that celebrates stability, peace and removing doubts or limiting them.”
Local fatwa institutions also issued their fatwa regarding this issue. Among the institutions that issued the prohibition of the surrogate mother are:
- Pahang: 2nd Pahang State Legal Consultative Committee Meeting, on June 11 -12, 2008  has decided that the ruling of using a surrogate mother to conceive a child is as follows:
- Using surrogate mother is prohibited even if the sperm and ovum are taken from legitimate husband and wife, for confusion will happen towards the child’s lineage.
- Sperm, ovum, embryo, womb donation by a third party or the usage of other methods are prohibited by Islamic law
- Selangor: The Fatwa Committee for the State of Selangor has issued a law that states the use of surrogate mother is prohibited. This can be seen through the decision which states:
"Using the method of surrogate mother to conceive is prohibited by Islam even though the sperm and ovum are taken from legitimate spouses as it will cause the confusion of the nasab (lineage) of the child to be born" 
Reviewing this issue, the ruling of prohibition of the surrogate mother is based on one of the Purposes of Syariah which is: hifz al-Nasl (to protect the lineage).
If the surrogate mother is permitted, it would surely lead to confusion of the child’s lineage, identity and would even lead to an even bigger dispute and enmity if everyone claims that the child is theirs.
Thus, we would like to emphasize that using a surrogate mother is PROHIBITED.
Indeed, a child is a gift from Allah SWT and Allah SWT gives to whomever He wishes, and Allah SWT does not give to whomever He wishes. Not being able to conceive a child may be a form of a test from Allah SWT to his servants, to test how much we as servants are able to be patient and accept everything that He decides for us.
May this explanation give an understanding regarding the rulings of using a surrogate mother. Wallahua’lam.