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Giving Birth under the Supervision of a Male Doctor is only Permissible in Case of Pressing Need

My wife is pregnant and I have a government health insurance because I work for a public hospital. Muslim, Christian, male and female doctors work there as well, so I can`t choose who to treat her. Is it permissible that she gives birth under the supervision of the doctor on duty who could be male, female, Muslim or Christian? However, hospital policy stipulates that a female nurse be present with male doctor upon examining a female patient and this stipulation is adhered to.

Answer:

Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds.                                                                                            

In principle, it is impermissible for a male to look at a foreign woman`s Awrah (Private parts), let alone touching it. This rule includes conducting delivery since it entailsuncovering the anterior and posterior pudenda (AwrahMoghallaza). Al-Shirbini says, "It is prohibited to look at the anterior and posterior pudenda save for a pressing need."{Moghni Al-Mohtaaj, 4/216}. Therefore, it is unlawful for a woman to go to a male Gynecologist save for an urgent need. For example, there is no female doctor to supervise the delivery, she is forced to go to the nearest hospital or she needs surgery where there are no female surgeons, in addition to other medical excuses.

If there is no necessity, it is impermissible for the woman who is about to give birth to go to a hospital where she is likely to be examined by male doctors, and we have stressed this point in Fatwa (925).

Nowadays, female doctors are in charge of hospitals, health centers and birthing centers and they charge reasonable fair. Therefore, a husband should take his wife to such facilities, but if he couldn`t afford them then he is permitted

to take his wife to the public hospital where he is insured; provided that he does his best that she gives birth under the supervision of a specialized female doctor. And Allah the Almighty knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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