"I didn’t know that he had registered the child"
An Indian woman living in Dubai filed for divorce after discovering that her husband had arranged for another woman to have their baby through surrogacy without her knowledge.
After a lengthy legal battle, which has gone on since 2016, the 37-year-old woman won the lawsuit in the Dubai Personal Status Court.
It is believed that the case is the first of its kind in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The unnamed woman had been married for fifteen years, however, the couple were unable to have a child.
In 2016, the woman requested a divorce from her husband after discovering that he had used a surrogate mother for their child. He also registered the baby in his wife’s name without her consent or knowledge.
Awatif Mohammad Khouri, representing the complainant, told the court that the husband forced his wife to sign a document approving the surrogacy procedure.
In return, he would grant her divorce and alimony (financial support).
The Indian woman initially filed for divorce in India. However, it was rejected and the baby girl was born in March 2016.
In the case documents, the woman said:
“I didn’t know that he had registered the child under my name in the birth certificate.
“He used the womb of another woman and the egg of another woman without my permission for fertilisation.
“I was forced to sign the agreement to get my divorce and alimony.”
According to an international news website, the woman’s husband became abusive and stopped providing for her needs. He allegedly tried to kick her out of their house.
The man ended up packing his belongings, took their valuables and left her when she refused to leave the house.
Before leaving, the husband told his wife that the child’s birth certificate is under her name and stated that she is the biological mother.
The woman subsequently launched a case in Dubai, requesting divorce, alimony and for her name to be removed as the baby’s biological mother.
In March 2019, the court was told that the woman had consented to the surrogacy but changed her mind as the delivery date approached.
The man claimed that the procedure took place in India where surrogacy is legal. He also submitted a copy of the Indian law to back up his claim.
Although he requested for Indian law to be applied, Mr Khouri stated that surrogacy is against the UAE’s laws and morals. He explained:
“Although the Indian law can be applied in several cases in the UAE, it cannot in this specific case because surrogacy is against the laws and public morals of the country (UAE) where the case is being heard.”
The court ruled in favour of the Indian woman after the man failed to follow the order for the child to be referred for a DNA test.
Mr Khouri announced: “As per the court’s judgement surrogacy was ruled forbidden according to UAE’s Islamic principles which are part of the country’s laws and public morals.”
Based on the case documents, surrogacy does not prove the lineage of a child.
Mr Khouri concluded: “The court decided that my client is not the biological mother of the child even if her egg was used in the process.”