Dubai: Surrogacy is not carried out in this part of the world, gynaecologists in the UAE have said.
Following a Gulf News article on Sunday about affluent Indian expats flying back home to find surrogate mothers, childless couples have been asking if this facility exists in the UAE.
"I would like to know whether there is an agency in the UAE that helps childless couples find surrogate mothers," an Indian woman from Abu Dhabi said.
Another asked about the laws pertaining to surrogacy in this part of the world.
"I do not want to opt for adoption. I would like to meet couples who have opted for surrogacy," said another Indian from Abu Dhabi
The sensitivity surrounding the topic could be well-gauged by the fact that a few gynaecologists refused to even discuss the issue. "Surrogacy is a very sensitive and an ethical issue," said Dr Manju Lodha of the Belhoul Speciality Hospital.
She said people often preferred someone from within the family to be a surrogate mother to minimise the risk of any emotional link between the surrogate mother and the baby.
"Surrogacy is not encouraged here, whereas it is allowed as per the law in India and in some other countries. But there are a lot of complications attached to surrogacy, for example the age and health of the surrogate mother."
"The law does not allow surrogacy. It allows fertility treatment within the confines of Sharia law," said Dr Pankaj Shrivastav from Conceive-The Gynaecology and Fertility Centre in Sharjah.
He added the wife's eggs and uterus and husband's sperm were needed for fertility treatment to be given. Another Dubai-based gynaecologist said surrogacy was still a controversial issue even in countries where it was carried out.
A Dubai-based couple who have a baby girl after finding a surrogate mother in India contacted Gulf News.
"We were planning to adopt. It was then I came across an article on surrogacy. My husband and I discussed the matter and agreed to opt for surrogacy instead of adoption.
"After a desperate search for nearly two years we came across a 27-year-old woman from Gujarat who agreed to be a surrogate mother. We took care of all her medical expenses. It has become a business over there," said the 38-year-old Indian.
Childless couples flock to Gujarat
The Indian state of Gujarat has earned a reputation for being the centre of surrogacy.
According to a report by NDTV.com the last two years have seen many childless couples going to Gujarat from around the world in search of surrogate mothers. In Anand in Gujarat, surrogate motherhood is flourishing.
The report said that childless couples have begun coming to Anand from the UK, the US, Canada and South Africa as well as Indian cities like Bangalore and Delhi.
In one single family all three daughters as well as the daughter-in-law have been surrogate mothers for the last year-and-a-half.