SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • infertility;
  • reproductive health;
  • adoption;
  • gamete donation;
  • Islam;
  • Lebanon

In the Sunni Muslim world, religious mandates prohibit both adoption and gamete donation as solutions to infertility, including in the aftermath of in vitro fertilization (IVF) failures. However, both of these options are now available in two Middle Eastern countries with significant Shi'ite Muslim populations (Iran and Lebanon). On the basis of fieldwork in multisectarian Lebanon, I examine in this article attitudes toward both adoption and gamete donation among childless Muslim men who are undertaking IVF with their wives. No matter the religious sect, most Muslim men in Lebanon continue to resist both adoption and gamete donation, arguing that such a child “won't be my son.” However, against all odds, some Muslim men are considering and undertaking these alternatives to family formation as ways to preserve their loving marriages, satisfy their fatherhood desires, and challenge religious dictates, which they view as out of step with new developments in science and technology. Thus, in this article I examine the complicated intersections of religion, technology, marriage, and parenthood in a part of the world that is both poorly understood and negatively stereotyped, particularly in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.