Speakers: Prof. Soraya Tremayne (University of Oxford) & Prof. Marcia C. Inhorn (Yale University)

Title: Infertility and Assisted Conception in the Muslim World: Social, Religious, and Legal Considerations

About the speakers:

Soraya Tremayne is a social anthropologist and Founding Director of the Fertility & Reproduction Studies Group, School of Anthropology, and the former Director of the International Gender Studies at the Department for International Development Studies (both University of Oxford). Her research in Iran, Malaysia & the United Kingdom spans three decades and focuses on kinship, fertility, and the impact of the state’s population policies on reproductive values and practices.

Marcia C. Inhorn is the William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Anthropology & International Affairs and Chair of the Council on Middle East Studies at Yale University. A medical anthropologist specializing in Middle Eastern gender, religion, and reproductive health issues, she has conducted research on the social impact of infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in Egypt, Lebanon, the UAE & Arab America over the past 30 years.

About the topic:

The world’s first “test-tube baby” was born in England in 1978, the first of the Muslim world in Egypt in 1987. IVF and other forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART) rapidly globalized with the Muslim world, overall, embracing them with considerable enthusiasm while attempting to regulate them according to Islamic bioethical and legal principles. This presentation will focus on the overall permission of IVF as a technology to overcome marital infertility among Muslim couples, while also describing the considerable variation between Sunni and Shia Muslim religious authorities in their fatwas on ARTs. In particular, the authoritative prohibition of third-party reproductive assistance in Sunni Muslim countries will be contrasted with the permission of third-party donor technologies in Shia-dominant Iran. Issues of religion, law, and bioethics will be highlighted.

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