Not inconceivable anymore ... Saudi women hiring surrogates abroad

Updated 07 December 2013

Not inconceivable anymore ... Saudi women hiring surrogates abroad

Saudi women who are unable to conceive are traveling abroad to enter into financial agreements with surrogate mothers to carry their child — a practice not permitted by the Islamic Jurisprudence Council.
The Saudi Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics said these surrogates, also known as “uterus zir,” rent their wombs to carry the fetus of childless couples.
Dr. Samir Abbas, a member of the society and an expert in gynecology, surgery and infertility, said a large number of Saudi families look to European and Asian countries for surrogate mothers if a woman in the family is unable to carry a child for health reasons.
He called on the Islamic Jurisprudence Council to review the decision it has taken on the issue. “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,” said Abbas.
Some families return disappointed since some surrogate mothers opt to keep the babies after birth, which is permissible in US law.
This has prompted many families to search for women with several children since they are more likely to honor the agreement.
Amira Kashgari, a columnist at Al-Watan newspaper and professor of linguistics at King Abdulaziz University, said such an issue has two sides.
“The positive side is that scientists have made alternatives possible,” she said. “The negative side is the potential psychological impact such a procedure can have. People looking to embark on this form of child-bearing should read up on other peoples’ experiences.”
Renowned Islamic scholar and economist Omar Abdullah Kamel said: “Renting” a womb involves many issues. “Adoption can also satisfy maternal feelings,” he said.
Dr. Azzam Abdulmajeed, a gynecologist, said: “The success rates of the process is very slim because the mother’s womb is genetically linked to the fetus. We need to conduct more studies on this issue since it is new and reading about it is not enough,” he said.
“Essentially, the fetus would be feeding from the surrogate mother, which means she should be tested. Knowing a surrogate’s medical history is essential before the procedure is conducted,” he said.
“This procedure is unavailable in the Kingdom and this might be the reason why these women go searching for other hospitals and medical institutes outside Saudi Arabia.”


Saudi Embassy evacuates 300 tourists from Lebanon

Updated 19 October 2019

Saudi Embassy evacuates 300 tourists from Lebanon

  • The embassy said that evacuees were escorted to Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut by Lebanese security forces to guarantee their safety
  • Three Saudia aircraft were used to transport them

BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia's embassy in Lebanon has confirmed it has facilitated the “evacuation of Saudi residents and visitors” from the country.
“The evacuation operation, imposed by the security situation in Lebanon and the importance of ensuring the safety of Saudi nationals, started Saturday at 5 a.m. after the Kingdom secured three Saudia aircraft to transport them,” the embassy told Arab News.
“Three hundred people were evacuated as of Saturday afternoon, while the total number of those wishing to leave remains unclear. We have identified a hotel in Beirut as a starting point,” it added, noting that most of those who had left were tourists.
The embassy also confirmed evacuees were escorted to Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut by Lebanese security forces to guarantee their safety.
Protests broke out in Lebanon on Thursday night, and disorder has disrupted roads leading to the airport, with burning tires blocking several key routes.
On Friday, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged its citizens already in Lebanon to exercise “utmost caution.”
Egypt’s Embassy in Beirut also called on its nationals in the country to avoid protest areas, Egyptian state news agency MENA said.
“The embassy calls on all Egyptian citizens in Lebanon to avoid the areas of gatherings and protests, to be careful in their movements and to abide by the instructions of the Lebanese authorities in this regard,” MENA reported.
Meanwhile, Kuwait’s Embassy in Lebanon asked citizens wishing to travel to the country to delay trips where possible.
“The embassy also calls on citizens currently in Lebanon to take utmost care and stay away from crowds and demonstrations,” it said on social media site Twitter.
Bahrain and the UAE warned against travel to Lebanon and called on their citizens in the country to leave immediately.