Pakistan legalizes 'test tube' babies
Pakistan's 'Federal Shariat Court' has finally legalized the use of test-tube babies to conceive in Pakistan. In an elaborate judgement, the court has laid down certain guidelines that must be followed with respect to 'test-tube' babies or else it would attract punishment. The court judgement also reiterated that the process cannot be termed as against 'injunctions of Holy Quran' and 'Sunnah'.
Growing infertility in Pakistan
Infertility in Pakistan is fairly high and data suggests that nearly 15 per cent couples have fertility issues. Fertility doctors like Dr Mazhar Ahmad say that only 10 per cent of those infertile are incurable whereas a massive 90 per cent can be cured with the right treatment. Due to lack of medical procedures, many are victimized and resort to desperate means to conceive.
Reproductive technologies given green signal
In 2013, the 'Council of Islamic Ideology, Pakistan' had approved process of test-tube babies to deal with infertility. Prior to Pakistan, even Egypt's Al-Azhar University had permitted test-tube babies provided there was no 'third-party donation.'
Guidelines for test-tube babies
Shariat court has specified that egg and sperm must have been acquired from the mother and father. If the prescribed medical procedure is followed then resulting child would be "legal and legitimate." Court however clarified that any other manner of obtaining a test-tube baby would be illegal and 'un-Islamic'. Further, the government was instructed to act against those who use 'anti-Sharia' ways to conceive.
Surrogacy illegal and punishable
The court categorically stated that cases where a woman was used as surrogate either for monetary consideration or otherwise, birth of such a child would be illegal and against Holy Quran's injunctions. Further, the couple which uses a surrogate, the surrogate herself and doctors that facilitates this process or maintain sperm/egg banks are liable to be punished and may even lose their licenses.