Infertile Women’s Responses to Assisted Reproductive Technologies in a Religious Context: Voices of a Multi-Faith Population (Pages: 0-0)

Latifnejad Roudsari R *, Allan H.T , Smith P.A ,


Objective: Scientific literature has identified religion as a factor which can affect the practice of reproductive technologies. This study explored how religious/ spiritual infertile women responded to ART using their religious teachings. Materials and Methods: In a feminist grounded theory study 30 infertile women affiliated to different denominations of Christianity (Protestantism Catholicism and Orthodoxy) and Islam (Shi’a and Sunni) were interviewed. Participants were recruited using theoretical sampling in one Iranian and two UK fertility clinics. Data were analyzed using Strauss and Corbin’s mode of grounded theory. Results: Three categories emerged embracing: exploring religious authorizations faith-based decision-making and transcendent hope to attain a pregnancy. The majority of religious infertile women endeavored to explore religious scholars’ views on ART. To make decision to do ART the mainstream of Muslims and Christians deemed IVF as a kind of advanced technology of reproduction which has no religious prohibition. Regarding gamete/ embryo donation they expressed a wide variety of outlooks including opposition agreement and ambiguity. The majority of Sunni Muslims and Christians expressed their objection with gamete donation. In contrast the majority of Shi’a Muslims who were religiously allowed to use donor procedures and a few number of Protestant Catholic and Orthodox participants despite not being religiously allowed had no opposition with gamete donation. Some participants experienced ambiguity and uncertainty. Religious women had a transcendent hope to attain a successful pregnancy which arose from their belief in God’s blessing and miracles. Conclusion: Health professionals should be aware of religious/ spiritual infertile women’s tendency to use their belief system to make decision on ART although a minority may not act upon religious authorizations for the reason of struggling with the desperation and heartbreak caused by infertility.