A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Genetic Engineering

As to the possibility of conception without the presence of a male sperm in the future: this is a question which lies entirely within the province of science, and which future scientists will have to investigate.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 288)


As to your question regarding the possibility of an artificial production of life by means of an incubator: this is essentially a matter that concerns science, and as such should be investigated and studied by scientists.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 288)


Concerning your first question, the House of Justice understands that the genetic engineering of fertilized human eggs is far from becoming a reality in the foreseeable future, therefore it does not feel it is propitious or necessary for it to legislate on this matter, or to take up a position about it.
(Universal House of Justice, Reproduction and other Biological Subjects, 8 March 1983, to an individual believer)


For example, if a man of his own mind and intelligence collects some elements and combines them, a living being will not be brought into existence, since the system is unnatural. This is the answer to the implied question that, since beings are made by the composition and the combination of elements, why is it not possible for us to gather elements and mingle them together, and so create a living being. This is a false supposition, for the origin of this composition is from God; it is God Who makes the combination, and as it is done according to the natural system, from each composition one being is produced, and an existence is realized. A composition made by man produces nothing because man cannot create.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 181)


Nothing specific has been found in the Bahá’í writings on genetic engineering. This is therefore a matter on which the House of Justice may have to legislate but the time has not yet come for that. The subject is quite complex, and an informed opinion can be offered only when the scientific understanding is much further advanced than at present and the social implications are clearer. With the emergence of adequate understanding, it will also be opportune to deal with the ethical issues involved. In the meantime, Bahá’ís faced with questions about genetic engineering are free to come to their own conclusions based on their knowledge of the Bahá’í teachings on nature and the purpose of life. However, they should be careful not to make dogmatic statements or offer their own understanding as the teaching of the Faith.
(Universal House of Justice, Reproduction and other Biological Subjects, 20 April 1997, to an individual)


Reports appearing in the press and in scientific literature indicate that the study of the cloning of animals is at an early stage. Many fundamental questions about the biological and genetic features of this process, and its physiological implications, remain unresolved, and will only become clear with the passage of time. Nothing specific has been found in the Bahá’í Writings on the subject of human cloning. The House of Justice regards it as premature for it to give consideration to this matter and its spiritual consequences. For the present, the believers faced with questions about cloning are free to come to their own conclusions based on their knowledge of the Bahá’í teachings on the nature and purpose of life. However, they should be careful not to make dogmatic statements or to offer their own understanding as a teaching of the Faith.
(Universal House of Justice, Reproduction and other Biological Subjects, 19 May 1998, to an individual)


The House of Justice has not found anything specific in the Bahá’í writings concerning the ethics of genetic engineering on human tissue, including foetal tissue, and on possible means of biologically creating replacement limbs and organs for human beings. It regards it as premature to give consideration to these matters and to their spiritual consequences. For the present, believers confronted with such issues are free to come to their own conclusions, based on their knowledge of the pertinent Bahá’í teachings.
(Universal House of Justice, Genetic Engineering, 2000)


The Universal House of Justice has received your letter of ... on your recent activities with the National Council of Women, now concerned with the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill presently before the House of Commons. We are asked to convey its advice. You have specifically requested information defining the Bahá’í position on the important matter of experimentation with human embryos. It is not practicable for the House of Justice to consider this delicate issue at this time, hence you are asked not to express opinions in matters of women’s activities which might be ascribed to the Faith which you so worthily serve.
(Universal House of Justice, Reproduction and other Biological Subjects, 11 April 1990, to an individual)


To understand the implications of this statement it is necessary to know what the Master meant by “a living being” and what limitations He intended by the phrases “of his own mind and intelligence” and “since the system is unnatural.” As the science of biology develops and men acquire ever deeper insights into the nature of living things, these implications will no doubt become clearer.
(Universal House of Justice, Reproduction and other Biological Subjects, 22 June 1977, to an individual)


With regard to the soul of man: According to the Bahá’í Teachings the human soul starts with the formation of the human embryo, and continues to develop and pass through endless stages of existence after its separation from the body. Its progress is thus infinite.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 204)


With respect to the question of multiple ovulation and pregnancies induced through the use of certain chemical agents, the House of Justice knows of nothing in the Writings on this matter. Since the process described is essentially only an accentuation of a normal process, i.e., inducing ovulation where formerly there was some physiological obstacle to successful release of ova, the possibility of multiple pregnancies may be viewed as the chance that is taken in achieving an otherwise successful outcome to a therapeutic intervention.
(Universal House of Justice, Reproduction and other Biological Subjects, 2000)