Following the viral Facebook post of an Egyptian woman who announced that she had frozen her eggs, Egypt's Islamic legislature Dar Al-Ifta announced that egg freezing is permissible within Islam under certain conditions.
'The process of freezing eggs is permissible, and there is no Islamic prohibition of it if it is carried out under four conditions. Egg freezing is a new scientific development in the field of artificial insemination. It allows the couple to repeat the fertilisation process when needed, without re-stimulating the ovary to produce other eggs,' Dar Al-Ifta said in a Facebook statement.
The edict could open the door for more women in Egypt to have additional options when deciding when to start a family, including waiting to marry or have children. 'I froze my eggs because I have always wanted to get married after the age of 30, so my career will have taken off, but I can't guarantee when I will fall in love with someone who is right for me,' said Reem Mehanna, the author of the viral post. 'I could meet him when I'm 32 or 37, in which case I'll have no problem getting pregnant, but he could come along when I'm 46 or 47, at which point, conception will be challenging.'
As reported in Egypt Today, Dar Al-Ifta declared egg freezing halal, or permissible in Islam, as long as several conditions are met. First, the eggs can only be used for reproduction in the context of marriage and cannot be fertilised and used after a divorce or death. The eggs must also only be fertilised by a husband's sperm and can only be implanted in the woman who provided the egg. Lastly, there must be strict and secure storage measures to ensure that there is no intentional or accidental confusion of eggs, and there must be evidence that the freezing process will not lead to any birth defects.
The cultural pressure to marry and have children by a certain age in Egypt can cause women to marry sooner than they would like, according to Egyptian Streets. Mehanna also spoke of the pressure to marry young, and of how egg freezing helped her avoid it: 'I completely reject this idea that women who haven't married past a certain age have to marry whoever and settle down because my biological clock is ticking. That was never an option for me.'