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UAE Considers Legalizing Surrogacy, Seeking Islamic Scholars’ Approval

An Emirati doctor has called on Islamic academics to produce a fatwa (Islamic edict) legalising the practise from an Islamic standpoint.

Just weeks after the UAE made significant legal changes to allow surrogacy within the country, an Emirati doctor is urging Islamic scholars to issue a fatwa (Islamic decree) to legalize the practice from an Islamic perspective. 

Surrogacy involves a woman carrying and giving birth to a kid on behalf of another couple or individual.

Presentation to Islamic Scholars:

Dr. Maha Taysir Barakat delivered a detailed presentation on the scientific aspects of surrogacy during the second international conference of the UAE Council for Fatwa. 

Her presentation was attended by over 160 scholars and scientific and intellectual figures worldwide.

Dr. Barakat explained that surrogacy involves the fertilization of an egg and sperm in a controlled environment, with the resulting embryo implanted in the womb of a surrogate mother. 

She emphasized that the surrogate mother cannot alter the genetic makeup of the child.

Legal Amendments and Progressive Approach:

Last month, the UAE implemented legal changes through Federal Decree Law No. 17 of 2023, amending Federal Decree Law No. 7 of 2019. 

These changes extended medically assisted reproduction techniques to non-Muslim parties without marriage certificates, allowed surrogacy, and granted unmarried couples access to fertilization and implantation procedures.

Parallels with Wet-Nursing in Islamic Law:

Dr. Barakat drew parallels between surrogacy and the concept of wet nursing in Islamic law. In Islamic tradition, a woman who breastfeeds a baby not related to her is considered a second mother. 

Marital relations are prohibited between the child and the wet nurse, and any children suckled by her are also prohibited from marrying each other.

Seeking Islamic Scholars’ Approval:

The presentation aimed to highlight that surrogacy does not change the lineage of a child and to encourage Islamic scholars to consider surrogacy from an Islamic perspective. 

The call for a fatwa seeks to align surrogacy with Islamic principles and practices while embracing diverse reproductive options in the UAE.

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