An Islamic Legal Perspective on the Status of the Malformed Fetus and the Previable Infant | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2165-7386

Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine
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Mini Review

An Islamic Legal Perspective on the Status of the Malformed Fetus and the Previable Infant

Saleh Al-Alaiyan*

Department of Pediatrics, Neonatology Section, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh Saudi Arabia

*Corresponding Author:
Saleh Al-Alaiyan
Department of Pediatrics (MBC-58)
King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre
P.O. Box 3354, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia
Tel: +966-1-442-7761
Fax: +966-1-442-7784
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: February 17, 2014; Accepted date: March 27, 2014; Published date: April 10, 2014

Citation: Al-Alaiyan S (2014) An Islamic Legal Perspective on the Status of the Malformed Fetus and the Previable Infant. J Palliat Care Med 4:174. doi:10.4172/2165-7386.1000174

Copyright: © 2014 Al-Alaiyan S. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Congenital anomalies contribute a significant proportion of infant morbidity and mortality, as well as fetal mortality. To date, there are more than 4,000 known birth defects. Antenatal diagnosis through recent advances in ultrasound and prenatal testing is important to make an informed decision of whether to continue or interrupt a pregnancy. Studies in Europe and North America show that termination rates following antenatal diagnosis of a malformation are common across these countries. Late termination of pregnancy for fetal abnormality is permitted on differing grounds in different countries, depending on the type of malformation, gestational age at diagnosis and abortion legislation. The decision to terminate an affected fetus may be influenced by a variety of factors, such as the country’s laws and health system, as well as the parental level of education, socioeconomic status, and religious and cultural beliefs. Advances in the technological and clinical care of preterm infants have led to improved survival rates for extremely low birth weight infants, but significant morbidity and disability persist. Physicians and parents have to make difficult decisions, often within a short time of birth, about whether to resuscitate and give intensive care to neonates born at ≤25 weeks’ gestational age. The decision to remove life-sustaining care from a critically ill baby is difficult and often distressing for parents and health care providers. This mini-review considers religious and ethical aspects of such decisions in the context of Islamic law.