Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Is babies sex selection permissible in Islam?

bored baby

Hi there,

Can someone please tell me if sex selection is allowed in Islam - when parents choose the sex of their baby.

If not is it forbidden (Haraam) or disliked (Makroo)?

Thank you

- RA

Wael's Response:

Before I want to get into my detailed response I just want to say, be happy with what Allah gives you. Any child is a blessing. Allah will give you the child you are destined to have. For a family who has more than one female child, they can be a means to earn Jannah. Let's stop this insane obsession with male children, and accept Allah's Qadar. He knows what is best for us. I personally have a daughter and she is the joy of my life. I cannot imagine ever having prevented her birth in order to choose a male. How much less my life would be without her, SubhanAllah! Let's be grateful to Allah for the gifts that He bestows on us.

Alright, on with it.

Gender Selection Before Conception

If you mean gender selection before conception, then a more immediate question may be, is it even possible?

The answer is, probably not. In recent years several methods have been developed that claim to be able to sort sperm in order to distinguish the male-producing sperm from the female-producing sperm. For example, the Microsort method, available since 1995. It's based on the fact that X chromosomes are bigger than Y's, so when the sperm cells are doused in a special fluorescent dye, the X chromosomes soak up more of the dye and glow brighter.

The sperm is sorted this way, and then assigned a charge, which tugs them into separate receptacles. The couple selects the boy or girl-producing sperm and uses it for fertilization. The technique costs several thousands of dollars per try and claims to be 88 percent effective for couples desiring girls and 73 percent effective for those wanting boys.

However, critics say that the effectiveness of these methods is exaggerated. Which means they may not be better than nature's random selection, which gives a 50-50 chance.

Furthermore, these techniques are considered by medical professionals to be ethically questionable, and are illegal in many nations.

But let's say that these methods were perfected and it became possible to sort sperm and select the sex of your child. Would it be Islamically allowable?

The answer is no, according to the scholars at Islam Q&A:

http://islamqa.com/en/ref/111849/gender (also see below)

Gender Selection by IVF

This involves stimulating the woman to produce many eggs, then removing them and impregnating them all in vitro. The doctors then wait to see which sex will develop, then select the best of the chosen sex and destroy the others.

This is haram, because it is equivalent to abortion. It involves conceiving life, then destroying it.

Gender Selection by Pregnancy and Abortion

This is common practice in India and China. A pregnant woman gets an ultrasound to determine the sex of the fetus, and it if it female she aborts it. This might be done repeatedly until she produces a boy.

This is absolutely haram.

Gender Selection by Natural Methods

Some people claim to be able to select a specific gender by means of special diets, or certain sexual positions, or eating certain herbs. These methods are all allowable, as there is nothing inherently wrong in these activities. Although, speaking frankly, in my opinion these methods are all hogwash and do not really work.

Quoting Islam Q&A:

The Islamic Fiqh Council affirms that the basic principle for the Muslim is to accept the will and the decree of Allah and to be content with whatever children Allah blesses him with, whether they are male or female, and he should praise Allah for that, as the choice of the Creator is best for us, may He be glorified and exalted, chooses. 

In the Holy Qur’aan there is criticism of the people of the Jaahiliyyah for not accepting and being content with the child if it was female. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And when the news of (the birth of) a female (child) is brought to any of them, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with inward grief! He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that whereof he has been informed. Shall he keep her with dishonour or bury her in the earth? Certainly, evil is their decision”

[al-Nahl 16:58]. 

There is nothing wrong with a person wanting a child to be male or female, based on the fact that the Holy Qur'aan refers to the supplication of some of the Prophets asking that they be blessed with a male child.  

In the light of that, the Council has determined the following: 

Firstly:

It is permissible to choose the gender of the foetus by natural means, such as following a certain nutrition plan, chemical washes, and choosing times for intercourse according to the time of ovulation, because these are permissible means and there are no reservations about them. 

Secondly:

It is not permissible to use any kind of medical intervention to choose the gender of the foetus, except in cases of medical necessity with regard to hereditary diseases which affect males but not females or vice versa. In that case intervention is permissible, subject to established shar‘i guidelines, so long as that is done on the basis of a committee of specialist doctors consisting of no less than three doctors of good character, who produce a medical report stating that the case calls for medical intervention so that the foetus will not be affected by the hereditary disease.

***

Wael
IslamicAnswers.com Editor


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34 Responses »

  1. Salaams,

    And if I may just add, regarding the gender selection through IVF- no reputable doctor is going to perform this procedure on a woman just for the sake of having the option to choose gender. IVF is strictly for the use of helping couples who are infertile to achieve pregnancy. If a couple is not infertile, this method would not be made available to them.

    Also, just to clarify, IVF is different altogether from IVI- which is In Vitro Implantation. In IVI, the fertilzation takes place outside the womb, and it can be engineered that only male or female sperm are used so as to guarantee the sex of the embryo. But here again, this would only be done with a documented infertile couple.

    It should be noted that IVF and IVI both carry the risk of eventual miscarriage, so even if the gender happens to be the one desired by the parents, it may not survive the entire pregnancy. Also, I just want to mention that the alternative to destroying the other fertilized embryos would be to let them all remain, in which case a woman has a pregnancy with 5-6-7-8 babies. However, with IVI, since the fertilization takes place in a "test tube", the other fertilized embryos can be frozen for future pregnancies.

    -Amy
    IslamicAnswers.com Editor

    • Amy, you are incorrect on several counts.

      1) Gender selection - "family balancing", in the delicate language of the reproductive industry - is widely available in reputable clinics. Some clinics elect not to offer this service, and some will only offer if you already have at least one child of that gender, but it is incorrect to say no reputable doctor offers this. They do.

      Gender selection is most often performed in the context of PGD, or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. In this procedure, a physician removes on cell from an embryo through a biopsy and performs genetic analysis for the correct chromosome count, which also reveals the gender. The couple then choose which embryo to implant (this is assuming the couple is fortunate enough to have more than one chromosomally normal embryo.)

      2) "Documented infertile couple" - there is no way to document infertility. Physicians can only document that a particular couple has not been able to conceive for a given period of time. The exception is a documented zero sperm count.

      3) You are incorrect that IVF is only made available to the infertile couple. The only criteria for IVF is that the couple is willing and can afford it.

      3) Amy, there is no such thing as an "in vitro implantation." Implantation can occur only inside the uterus.

      4) IVF carries the risk of miscarriage but so does regular pregnancy. It isn't possible to isolate the miscarriage risks associated with IVF from the miscarriage risks associated with reproductive defects that made the couple seek IVF in the first place.

  2. Brother Wael,
    I love your advice about the "insane obsession with male children" and agree firmly that all children are trully a blessing upon us. My best friend has been blessed with five wonderful daughters. When she was pregnant with her fifth child, and with her four daughters in public, many a stranger would comment to her "I bet you hope this one is a boy!" This would upset my friend to no end because it was as if people thought of her four daughters as somehow inferior. Her pat response to these comments was "Actually, I'm hoping for a healthy baby."

  3. Assalamualikum

    Dear Brother Weal

    My eyes fill up with tear reading the following lines.

    "I personally have a daughter and she is the joy of my life. I cannot imagine ever having prevented her birth in order to choose a male. How much less my life would be without her, SubhanAllah! Let's be grateful to Allah for the gifts that He bestows on us."

    Actually I have a daughter. I also feel as like as you. Our creater knows well which one is better for us.
    We don't have any idea male or female which one is best for us. It is He who knows everything which or what is appropiate in every sectoer of life.

    I want to give thanx all of you who gives us valuable advice and solution in our calamities and guide us to stay in right way. Personally I am really helpful from getting suggestion in my worst situation. Now alhamdulillah I am better than before and also added that at past I just read five times prayer but not wearing hijab, or not reading quran every day. But after getting this site i now read quran every day and wearing hijab nd try to people motivate people who is near to me for wearing hijab and reading quran everyday. And i get a positive result from them.

  4. Assalam O Alaikum

    Dear brother God Almighty has granted me with two beautiful
    daughters,but now my husband and the family wanted to have
    baby boy,sme have suggested me to go for IVF procedure.plz kindly
    advise as I am quiet confuse.kindly guide me.
    Awaiting

    • mahwish, we recently answered a similar question. Do a search please. The short answer is that if it involves impregnating several eggs, then keeping the male and discarding the others, then it is haram.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  5. Thank youi to all for your replys.

    Borther Wael, I share the same view as you - Alhamdulillah to whatever Allah blesses you with.

    I am just posting this to make you aware that life is not that simple for everyone across the globe. I asked this question on behalf of a friend that lives in Pakistan.
    She has 3 daughters (MashAllah) and is herself very content and happy. However pressure from extended families on her husband is turning their relationship ugly.
    It is strange as when he is with his daughters you can see the love in his eyes but older members of the family always have a dig at the fact he has no son.

    Yes he should tell them that he has Allah's blessings with such beautiful daughters but being a human it gets him down, and then it comes between him and his wife. Not to mention all the old woman openly telling making statments like "poor girl, cant have boys" or "poor man, his wife can not give him a boy".
    I am aware of the sciences behind male and female fertilization but this can not be explained to all the old ladies and men of such places.

    They have been considering this produre (not IVF), however have stated their have no interest in doing anything HARAM.

    I guess I am explaining this as we are all humans and sometimes our weaknesses take over our brain.

    Please all say a prayer for such couples, That Allah makes their lives easier and they rise above the pressures of such put downs and gossips.

    Thank you
    RA

    • AoA. Dear RA, reading on this topic I am feeling pain because I have 4 beautiful daughters they are blessings from my Allah and I love very much all of them. In our society it is sin to give birth of a girl unfortunately. In spite of all them contact me I have something to solve this problem of your friend And that is not haram in Islam and also have no side effect. May Allah give us sabr o shukr.

      • malik, if you have some advice just post it here. By the way, it is not a "sin" to give birth to a girl, it is a blessing and a means to reach Jannah, Insha'Allah, as the Messenger of Allah (sws) said, “He who is involved (in the responsibility) of (nurturing) daughters and is generous to them, will have them as a fortification for himself against the Hellfire.” (Al-Bukhaari & Muslim)

        Wael
        IslamicAnswers.com Editor

        • Brother Wael, can not post sorry but can give a some of meal when she will be pragnent with in two month and Insha a allah my Allah will give her a boy. After all it is in the hand of Allah. No payment only prays.

          • malik, sounds like nonsense to me.

            Wael
            IslamicAnswers.com Editor

          • That's completely ridiculous. The gender is known before the embryo even implants in the womb. By the time the pregnancy is two months long, that embryo has already been either a boy or a girl for two months. No food can change that. In fact, nothing can.

      • Hello what we can do I have also four girls I don't want to do gender selection because I was reading it's haram is there any medication which we can use I am not saying I don't love my daughters but they always ask me why we don't have brother where is he,which makes me speechless

  6. Why some families reject baby girl. What is their reason for that?

  7. Allah says:
    لله ملك السموات والأرض يخلق ما يشاء يهب لمن يشاء اناثاً ويهب لمن يشاء الذكور أو يزوجهم ذكراناً واناثاً ويجعل من يشاء عقيماً انه عليم قدیر
    means, .... Allah is who give male or female what He wish ...

    If it is possible to SELECT the gender.
    It CONTRADICTs QURAN.

    And, there is NO reasons left to believe in Allah or be Muslim anymore. Because the Gods words became wrong.

    Please GUIDE me, Otherwise I will die non-Muslim just because of this contradiction (Science and Quran) .

    Please E-mail me.

    • Shakil, read the answer I gave to the post. No one can control whether a particular egg will become male or female. Only Allah.

      Frankly, it sounds like you are looking for reasons to doubt your faith. I suggest that you work on strengthening your relationship with Allah.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

      • Thanks,
        Actually, I am lost my concentration of belief. Though I still practice Islam, But some misunderstanding or misinterpretation of Quran in light of Science made me crazy.

        Regarding your suggestion, I am now fully drowned in doubt as I told: If someone dont correct me, I will be died as non-believer.

        Please HELP. I cannot help my self anymore.
        Give me reasons with logic and arguments NOT Only sayings.

        • I don't believe that logic and arguments will solve your problems. Allah has given you the gifts of life, blood in your veins, breath in your lungs, and food on your table. He gave you this earth in which to live, and the sun to warm you. If these things are not enough for you to believe and be grateful, then what could I say that would matter?

          When I read the Quran, I see miracles of science within it, not reasons to doubt. Each person will find what he seeks.

          Wael
          IslamicAnswers.com Editor

          • Shakil .

            I am blessed with mash Allaha 3 beautiful daughters , who are the reason for my every day happiness .

            On gender selection , you can choose the sex of the embryo before it gets implanted in to the womb how ever it's only Allha swt who will decide if that pregnancy will take place .

            Hope that helps .

      • Eggs don't become male or female, only embryos. The egg does not affect the gender of the embryo, only sperm does.

  8. Children are blessing from Allah weather it's boy or a girl. Some people can't even become parents some go through tragity but Allah knows what is best for you. I have a 2yr old daughter mashalaah. Now I m pregnent with my second child. And it's a boy my husband was little bit upset as he wanted a girl but I told him pray for a healthy baby that's it its was upto Allah what to grant us obviously its good that's why Allah blessed with us a boy and inshallah I can give birth without any complication.

  9. Respected brother,again I am sorry actually this mystery was revealed by our Last Prophet (SAW) 1400 years ago. Allah Sub hana o ta ala invite us to think (Afal yatadabaroon?+Afala yatafakaroon?) . It is a kind of weakness
    some internal things of human body control it and get success. Research and experience is involve here only not interference in the territory of my Almighty Allah (Sub hana o ta ala). Brother If I am wrong guide me please. Can you believe what I am saying, its results are near 100% .Again request guide me please.
    Malik.

  10. Saalam
    Acualy I have a one year old daughter and even I can not tell how happy me and my husband is to have her in our life she means everything to both of us we are realy happy with her,and I want to say that the gender selection is only in Allha s hand he knows what is good and better for us
    Thanks

  11. AOA
    Can you tell me from Quran and Sunnah that you can not select gender of your baby?

  12. I really dislike how people think that Muslims are only disappointed when they are blessed with girls. In our time, there are as many Muslim brothers and sisters who are suffering from baby gender depression and struggling to accept the qadar of Allah because Allah did not bless them with a daughter they wanted so much. I wish there was a support group or forum to talk about it.

  13. asalamoalikum. you told that gender selection naturally is not haram as you said eating herb, position or diet etc,.. but now some doctors gave the name natural process to this method in which by calcultaing female ovulation date or some positive negative charge on chhromosomes they tell the couple to do intercose in that days. i want to ask is it a natural process and halal?

    • Having intercourse on certain days cannot affect the gender of the child. There is no such thing as positive and negative charges on chromosomes.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

    • I don't think the day you have intercourse can determine sex of the baby. In future it may be possible to separate Chromosomes based on XX and XY chromosomes.

      Latest I read about sperms................scientists have developed sperms from stem cells. This may help couples where men have defective sperms.

      There should be a way to identify sperms with XY chromosomes. I don't think so far there is a way to do that.

  14. in Pakistan there is a method which introduces by right choice organization they describe proper method in it in which they ask the female mensuration dates and then calculate and tell to do intercourse in that specific month or on that dates. here is the link: http://www.babychoice.net/inmedia.html. now my question is, is this method appropriate according to islam, can anyone opt this or is it haram?

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