Saudi Arabian and Chinese couple search abroad for surrogate mothers

Michael Cook
7 Dec 2013
Reproduced with Permission

Saudi couples who are unable to have children are employing surrogate mothers in Asia and Europe even though surrogacy has been condemned by the country's Islamic Jurisprudence Council. An article in the Arab News did not estimate how many couples have done this. However, a number of doctors favour a more liberal interpretation of the law.

Dr Samir Abbas, a member of the Saudi Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, says "Such a phenomenon should not be treated as taboo, since the mechanism of food being fed to the fetus through the umbilical cord is akin to the act of a woman breastfeeding another person's child, which is permissible in Islam." Some commentators on the story also suggested that the husband take a second wife if the first is unable to bear a child.

In China surrogacy is also illegal, so some couples are going to US surrogacy agencies. The take-away cost of a child for them is between US$120,000 and $140,000. But if the child is born on American soil, it is constitutionally guaranteed US citizenship. This may come in handy for the commissioning parents as a way of getting a US education for the child or as a path to US residency for them. Surrogacy also allows parents to choose the gender of their baby and gives them a chance at having a second child in country which still enforces the one-child policy.

Jennifer Garcia, of the California surrogacy agency Extraordinary Conceptions, told the Today show that about 55% of its clients are Chinese.