As bizarre lawsuits go, nothing comes even remotely close to this case currently being heard by a court in Al Ain.
It involves an Egyptian man, his Kiwi wife, their Filipina maid, a three-year-old girl and a prominent hospital. And at the core of it all -- a frozen male sperm.
Dubai-based Egyptian business development manager Mohammad Fouad told XPPRESS he has sued his wife Anna (name changed for legal reasons) because she got his sperm injected into their housemaid’s womb to have a baby.
He claims his wife, who works at a hospital in Al Ain, carried out the procedure clandestinely and without his knowledge.
Court documents with XPRESS show Anna admitted the charges.
Fouad, 33, met 40-something Anna in the UAE and married her in Auckland, New Zealand in 2008 after a brief courtship.
But since she could not conceive even after a fertility treatment, the couple agreed to have a baby through surrogacy, an arrangement in which a woman bears a child for another couple or person.
“Surrogacy is illegal in the UAE, so we decided to find a woman outside the country, preferably someone from Anna’s family in New Zealand,” Fouad recalls.
While the hunt for a surrogate mother was still on, Anna hired a young full-time Filipina maid, Elvie Ibanez, on her sponsorship.
In March 2010, Elvie moved into Anna’s Al Ain villa. Unknown to Fouad, she was tasked with more than just domestic chores.
The same month, Fouad claims, Anna asked for his sperm and took it to her hospital on the pretext of routine tests. “She took the sperm on four separate occasions. A few weeks later I left for Egypt,” he said. It wasn’t until August, by which time the maid’s baby bump had become impossible to hide, that Fouad really found out where his sperm had ended up.
“I was aghast… mortified when Anna blurted out the truth. Here was my wife who had used my sperm to impregnate a woman she had hired to do our dishes. And she did it behind my back. Not just that, she had even prepared an elaborate tri-party surrogacy agreement contract.
“She and Elvie had signed the contract way back in June 2010 and now they wanted me to sign it as well. I refused because surrogacy agreements are not valid in the UAE. I was raging mad and wanted to alert the authorities, but Anna said if I did, Elvie would be arrested for getting pregnant out of wedlock and my child would be born in jail and deported.”
Fouad said Anna assured him she would circumvent the situation by ensuring the baby is born in New Zealand. “I had no choice, so in August I grudgingly signed the agreement. By now our relationship had turned sour. Anna constantly feared I would report the maid. In October she even secretly whisked her away to the Philippines. But I traced her and flew her back.”
On December 25, 2010, Elvie gave birth to a baby girl, Salwa, at an Al Ain hospital. For her part, she was paid Dh15,000 by Anna.
XPRESS has a copy of the receipt signed by Elvie along with her statement confirming the completion of the surrogacy agreement.
Oddly, Glenda King, the then consular officer of the New Zealand Consulate General in Dubai signed as a witness to the ‘surrogacy completion agreement’ on January 15, 2012.
Days before she returned to the Philippines for good, Elvie also forfeited her rights to the baby and gave Anna a written consent to adopt Salwa under New Zealand laws.
But now neither Fouad nor Anna wants to raise her.
While Anna has reportedly refused to adopt the child, Fouad has got her an Egyptian passport and sent her to a third family in his home country.
“There was nothing else that I could have done as I cannot look after her on my own. Since her biological mother is unmarried, the local health authorities refused to issue a birth certificate. Eventually I had to prove my paternity through DNA testing and get the certificate issued through the court.
“I have exhausted all my savings in these court cases and am completely broke now,” said Fouad, who is also bitter with the New Zealand consulate.
His estranged wife, who has since filed for divorce, directed an XPRESS query to her lawyer who declined to comment. A spokesperson for New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said they are aware of the case but distanced themselves from the surrogacy agreement. (full response above)
The next hearing in the case is on October 20.
Consulate denies signing surrogacy pact
“We are aware of the case. A surrogacy agreement was not signed and witnessed at the New Zealand Consulate General in Dubai,” said a spokesperson for New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Trade in an email response to an XPRESS query. “It is not the function of New Zealand embassies or consulates to authorise surrogacy agreements,” the email said. It added: “New Zealand embassies, high commissions and consulates undertake a range of legal and notarial work, including the witnessing of signatures on Consent for Adoption papers. This occurs in accordance with New Zealand law. In 2012, Glenda King, the consular officer at the Consulate General in Dubai witnessed the signature on a Consent for Adoption. This occurred in accordance with New Zealand law. It is common for a consular officer to be asked to take a photocopy of a document and certify the copy as being a true copy.
The consular officer certified a copy of the Consent for Adoption document. This did not certify the contents of the document. The notarial service of certifying a copy was performed 18 months after the agreement was signed. Also, Glenda King is a consular officer not an individual who was party to the surrogacy