Background: Advancements in medical technology have significantly increased the possibility of successful infertility treatment. Medical interventions in the initial process of pregnancy that intend to increase the chances of pregnancy create the risk of multifetal pregnancies for both mothers and fetuses. Physicians attempt to reduce the numbers of fetuses in order to decrease this risk and guarantee the continuation of pregnancy. The aim of this paper is to understand the Shiite instruction in terms of the risks multifetal pregnancies have for fetuses and if it is permissible to reduce the numbers of fetuses. An affirmative answer will lead to the development of Islamic criteria for reduction of the number of embryos.
Materials and Methods: This analytical-descriptive research gathered relevant data as a literature search. We reviewed a number of Islamic resources that pertained to the fetus; after a description of the fundamentals and definitions, we subsequently analyzed juridical texts. The order of reduction was inevitably determined by taking into consideration the rules that governed the abortion provisions or general juridical rules. We also investigated the UK law as a comparison to the Shiite perspective.
Results: The primary ordinance states that termination of an embryo is not permitted and is considered taboo. However, fetal reductions that occur in emergency situations where there is no option or ordinary indication are permitted before the time of ensoulment. The goal of reduction can be chosen from different ways.
Conclusion: According to Shiite sources, fetal reduction is permitted. Defective fetuses are the criteria for selective reduction. If none are defective, the criteria are possibility and facility. But if the possibility of selection is equally for more than one fetus, the criterion is importance (for example one fetus is healthier).