Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Should she tell him about infertility?

father and baby

What should a girl do if she comes to know that she might not have babies?  Should she tell her fiancé or keep quiet as her parents tell her to?  She's not happy with the engagement and apparently one of the reasons why she was forced into marrying a guy from the family seems to be that if she remains childless, the extended family won't kick her out of the house.

Unfortunately, her brother's wife also has the same problem and it's been 4 years of childless marriage, and now the girl doesn't want her fiancé to go through the same situation; especially when there's no affection between them.  I understand that having a child is not for us to say, but a matter truly in the hands of God, but the problem I'm talking about is fairly a common problem in girls and the chances of infertility are very high.


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11 Responses »

  1. Salaams,

    A lot of cases of infertility are now treatable with medical intervention. It's very rare for someone to know for sure prior to marrying someone (assuming this person is a virgin etc) that they will definitely not have children. I'm not aware of any "common" female problems which result in high and untreatable infertillity rates.

    Since I don't know about this girl's situation in detail enough to gauge how treatable it might be, I would like to say that even if she were 100% barren this does not mean that she and her husband could not have children by adoption or fostering. There are many happy families where the children are not the biological offspring of the parents.

    However, I do also believe that every prospective spouse has the right to know if there is a health issue that could decrease or extinguish the chance of having children of their own, so I think it would be wise for her to tell the fiance about her condition. I also suggest she educate herself on treatment options so she can also tell him how much hope he can have in being able to conceive with her. If she follows her parents' advice and withholds this information from him and then he finds out after he marries her, he would then be entitled to divorce her. He may also decide to take another wife. Long story short, it will more than likely blow up in her face to keep it a secret.

    I suggest this information be shared with the fiance, and see how open he is to raising children that are not his biologically. If he's not open to it, I hope this girl can know that it's not the biggest loss. There are many men out there who would be delighted to adopt/foster children because they are impotent themselves or perhaps feel that there are already enough people in the world than to add to it. There are also men out there who would marry her anyway despite this issue, because in the end he wants to spend his life with just her whether they have kids or not. Maybe he would even have faith for a miracle, as there are so many miracles of children being born to families who "couldn't" have children.

    Being infertile (and again, I don't think such cases are always as set in stone as they initially seem) is not the doom of a girl's future. Many "infertile" women have lovely marriages and fulfilling lives. I suggest that this girl look for ways to define herself in her strengths instead of this one possible deficit. If she can do it, others will know her by the beauty in her and desire her for this, instead of her reproductive capabilities.

    -Amy Editor

  2. The truth is, if this is an issue then your friend (or any person with any health/other issue) needs to lay the cards on the table and be honest. The other person has a right to know the truth. And both parties need to know all the facts before they marry. The only thing one should hide are sins.

    If a person hides the truth, the truth usually just comes out later anyway and causes more problems. So she should speak to him about it soon to see his thoughts. He may be OK with it InshaAllah, or he may not. If he didnt know it will just cause problems in the marriage some years down the route.
    Tell her to be honest and mature. I know it isn't easy but its important she finds a husband who will support her and wants similar things.

    Sara Editor

  3. my two beautiful sisters ,who always give good advise.mashallah.
    i agree with the above.

  4. You should tell him - even if there is the slightest risk.

    Not many in-laws/husbands want to adopt, even if you may be agreeable to it in case you are not blessed with a child - at times like this, specially Indian/Pakistani families can be pretty unreasonable and Islam goes out the door - they don't care that Allah blesses whom he wills and is testing one's faith

    I am telling you this from personal experience - my ex-husband and his family wanted him to get another wife in 14 months after our marriage - there was no infertility issues in me, he had minor issues that were not supposed a major factor, but the stress of the situation (the in-laws wanted a grandchild and that too a boy, as if it was in MY hands!!) within the 1st year of marriage. His older sister had been childless for 7 years before Allah blessed her, but they had no patience with me, because I was a dispensable daughter in law.

    As suggested by Sr. Amy above, sure there are many ways to get past infertility issues, and I tried them all, and finally at the end of four long, heartbreaking years he ended up divorcing me and destroyed the IVF embryos because his sister said "what if there is a mistake in the hospital and they mix the wrong egg and sperm and the child ends up not really yours".

    So humans are cruel to each other. After that, I got a phobia of getting married because everyone said they wanted a child if they married and no one would listen that there was nothing wrong with me but I did not want the same pressure on me again in another marriage. Marriage is meant for love and mercy, not a baby making enterprise.

    I hope you make the right decision and leave the rest to Allah.

  5. Dear Clumsy,

    Whether you are able to have children is besides the point. Why marry someone whom you find yourself not compatible with? Why marry someone just because your family wants you to yet you have no attraction to? Please value yourself more, you deserve better and so does this person. You deserve a life of happiness and children if Allah wills. Think long and hard before moving forward with this marriage. You are not marrying for the right reasons at all and you are not being fair to yourself.


  6. The prophet [saww] forbade men from marrying infertile women sister, even if she is beautifull, has good lineage, polite etc so the woman should tell him about this.

    • Salaams,

      Just to clarify, it's not forbidden in the sense of it being haraam and should be avoided at all costs. According to this hadith, most scholars rule it as makruh if anything:

      The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told men not to marry infertile women. It was narrated that Ma’qil ibn Yasaar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: I have found a woman who is of good lineage and beautiful, but she cannot have children. Should I marry her? He said: No. Then he came to him a second time, and he told him not (to marry that woman). Then he came to him a third time and he said: “Marry the one who is loving and fertile, for I will be proud of your great numbers before the nations.” Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (3227) and Abu Dawood (2050). Classed as saheeh by Ibn Hibbaan (9/363) and by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb (1921).

      Also, we have to keep in mind that every female past the age of menopause is generally infertile, and there are no prohibitions against marrying them. Just because it's better to marry someone who can bear children doesn't mean those who are infertile should be castigated for something they have no control over.

      -Amy Editor

    • when talking like that did it ever occur to you that what if you were an infertile man?

      Allah clearly declares in the Quran that he gives daughter to those whom He wishes, sons to those whom He wishes and makes some barren whom He wishes.

      What if He wished for you to be infertile? then could you have spoken like that? I mean women can sin then they are entitled to keep it a secret from their husbands and they live happily ever after and other woman who are innocent but unlucky have to listen to people's brutal comments. Please keep your comments to your self.

      • May Allâh bless every muslim and muslimah with children.

        I understand that it is not completely forbidden, thats why i said "the prophet forbade men" as opposed to "it is forbidden", but i said it to emphasise the extreme level of dislike islâm has towards marrying anyone who cannot reproduce, whether man or woman.

        And i seek refuge in Allâh from being infertile.
        A Muslim should speak the truth regardless of what situation he and his family, or nation are in [be a Muqsit]
        If he holds the one who totally abandones the Salâh to be a nonmuslim, and then realises he has family members who dont pray at all, should he now change his views because of the situation which has arised as some do?

        This is called al-Hizbiyyah, which is to side with people out of pity, for the sake of wealth, kinship, tribalism for any other reason which in insincere etc.

        May Allâh bless every brother and sister with children who pray ofcourse.

  7. Being infertile and in marriage is very excruciating if your spouse is not willing to accept the reality. After the marriage of 6 months, my wife suggested that we should go and seek assistance for conceiving a baby. Unfortunately my infertility was highlighted as shocking news for me in the medical reports and my ex-wife decided to quit the marriage. All I wanted to say that, people do ask me that why my marriage was broken and why I’m not marrying again provided that I’m having all the ‘apparent’ prerequisites of marriage, i.e. piety, education, financial stability etc. to be very honest I did try to marry twice but soon I told the realty, no body turns up. May Allah help all of us and give patience and persistence to bear this test, a really tough on, but I still believe that now I know it, I should not hide it from my prospect spouse.

    • Im sorry.. It doesnt hapn when 2 ppl r in a loving marriage.
      my doctor friend had figured she has a hormonal imbalance due to which she might never conceive, and therefore she was so depressed..but 1 day her senior doctor proposed marriage. She told him about it. She was certain she would never b able to get married but i guess he loved her so much, that he overlooked her p.c.o.d completely. Now Alhamdolillah they r married since about 5 yrs. She is Still childless and though that hurts her sometimes but they r so complete together that i honestly believe that much happier than any of us (friends).
      May Allah help u find some1 who will marry u for only you brother. That is not so hard. Just b positive.

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