Abstract Objectives To present the first experience in Iraq of autologous rectus fascia sling (RFS) procedures and transobturator tape (TOT) for treating female stress urinary incontinence (SUI), and to review the validity of the RFS in the era of synthetic tapes. Patients and methods From December 2004 to July 2012, 80 female patients with SUI were enrolled in the study, and randomly assigned into two types of surgery, with 40 treated by RFS (retropubic route) and 40 by TOT. The surgical results were compared between the groups and with those from previous studies. Results The mean operative duration was 80min for RFS vs. 20min for TOT. The early cure rate was 98% for RFS (with one failure due to prolonged urinary retention) and 95% for TOT (with two failures due to persistent incontinence). The early complications were mainly abdominal wound problems (20%) for RFS, and groin and upper thigh pain (13%) for TOT. The late complications were the development of postvoid residual urine (8% in RFS vs. 5% in TOT) and de novo detrusor overactivity (5% in each group). There were no vaginal or urethral erosions up to the end of the study. Conclusions RFS and TOT have comparable efficacy and safety in treating SUI. Nevertheless RFS, with its more invasive nature and long operative duration, should only be used when synthetic tapes are not available or not preferable.