As academics and Muslim thinkers begin to explore and formulate Islamic bioethics, it seems that the vital dimension of gender has so far received short shrift. This may appear all the more surprising in light of a growing body of literature on gender and Islam generally, though in many ways it mirrors the development of bioethics in the North American context. In that instance, too, new theories and cases involving gender were ignored for some time, but once given serious attention, had a significant impact on the field at all levels. One area of Islamic bioethics in which gender plays a central role is assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Yet even there, the implications of gender in the theory and practice of Islamic bioethics have not been sufficiently examined. Though some medical anthropologists in particular have addressed facets of gender in ART, more needs to be done to integrate this into the wider pursuit of Islamic bioethics.

This paper attempts to call more attention to the issue of gender as a necessary consideration in the development of Islamic bioethics. What is similar and what is different in the relationship of gender and bioethics in the North American and Islamic contexts? What pitfalls can be avoided in the articulation of Islamic bioethics in light of the North American experience of gender and bioethics? This paper looks at Islamic bioethical thought and practice in the realm of ART — particularly in Iran — and presents some of the ways in which gender comes into play. It then suggests other dimensions in the development of Islamic bioethics wherein considerations of gender ought to play a core role.


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  • Received: 01 March 2014
  • Accepted: 01 March 2014
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