Breastfeeding of a Surrogate Mother

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Islamic Medicine
Staff member
Breast milk provides newly born babies with the best nutritional value and thus should be carefully provided to them by their own mothers. Breastfeeding contributes in the genetic formation of a baby. Prophet Muhammad PBUH said,

What is forbidden through birth (blood) relations is forbidden through foster-suckling relations.

Recent scientific studies have shown that the milk of the nursing mother has some antibodies, which are transferred to the infant. These antibodies contribute in the formation of the infant’s immune system, which takes place by the first three to five doses of milk suckling*. It is indicated that the three to five doses of breast milk are the required quantity for the formation of the immune system not only in humans but also in other creatures even those newly born baby animals used in experiments, whose immune systems have not yet been completely formed or matured. When a baby sucks breast milk from his own mother or a surrogate one, that specific baby would inherit antibodies and immunity-related genetic characteristics; if another baby sucks breast milk from that same mother (acting as the surrogate mother) this baby would acquire similar characteristics as that pervious baby;
this surrogate breastfeeding or milk would make the two babies foster-relatives through having the same antibodies and genetic characteristics. In other words, their relationship would be as birth (blood) brothers, which can be described as milk-brothers or foster-brothers. The marriage of these two persons is banned. The existence of such antibodies in both the male and female (as being milk-brothers) will, if they ever get married, cause diseases in their offspring. That is to say, the banning of milk-brothers’ marriage is due to that such marriage is likely to cause diseases and illnesses in the offspring of those couples. This is therefore the wisdom and aim of the above Hadeeth’s banning such marriage. In fact, the number of complete suckling of milk to satisfy the hunger of a baby are five-satiation doses.

(Reference: Abdul-Samad, Mohamed Kamil Scientific Miracles in Islam and Sunna Nabawya)

Actually, kinship from surrogate breastfeeding is established by and passed on to generations or lineages due to the mothers’ transferring of genes to their babies through breast milk. In other words, such a kinship is the result of the transferring of genes (the fundamental physical and functional unit of heredity) from a mother’s milk to the enfant. These genes penetrate the baby’s cells and compose the genetic chains or sequences, which get various types of genes from a mother’s cells. It is well known that the source of genes is the DNA as being the nuclei of human cells. Also the infant’s hereditary system absorbs whatever new or strange genes, for it has not yet matured as any other system whose complete maturity may take months and probably years since the birth of a baby.
Last but not least, if such affinity is likely to be interpreted in this manner, then it is best to avoid it, for it has very serious consequences and dangerous implications on man.

Reference: EL- Habbal, Mohammed Jameel(Dr.) & Magdad Maree EL Jawari ( Dr.), Science in the Holy Quran.

* It should be noted, however, that the meaning of three to five doses of milk suckling is that the baby should breastfeed for three to five times until he is full, that is, he is not hungry anylonger. In other words, the three to five suckling doesn’t mean the act of sucking in itself as three or five suckings but one dose of milk differs from one baby to another. It may take more than five sucklings.
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