WHO IS A SURROGATE MOTHER
A woman who bears a child on behalf of another woman, either from her own egg fertilized by the other woman’s partner, or from the implantation in her uterus of a fertilized egg from the other woman.
A surrogate mother is a woman who has agreed to give birth to a baby on behalf of another woman. A woman who agrees, often for pay, to give birth to a child resulting from artificial insemination or the implantation of an already fertilized egg and who surrenders any parental rights to a third party.
WHAT IS SURROGACY
Surrogacy is a method or agreement whereby a woman agrees to carry a pregnancy for another person or persons, who will become the newborn child’s parent(s) after birth.
Intended parents may seek a surrogacy arrangement when either pregnancy is medically impossible, pregnancy risks present an unacceptable danger to the mother’s health or is a same sex couple’s preferred method of having children. Monetary compensation may or may not be involved in these arrangements. If the surrogate receives money for the surrogacy the arrangement is considered commercial surrogacy, if she receives no compensation beyond reimbursement of medical and other reasonable expenses it is referred to as altruistic. The legality and costs of surrogacy vary widely between jurisdictions, sometimes resulting in interstate or international surrogacy arrangements.
A lot of women including the high and mighty have been having a lot of issues as regards child bearing, but all thanks to medical technology which has helped by bringing up so many other options like, IVF and SURROGACY.
Surrogacy is an option for women who can’t carry a baby in their womb for medical reasons, having the opportunity of another woman carrying the baby in her womb and giving birth to the baby with the end point of giving the baby to the his/her parents.
There are two kinds of surrogate mother, the traditional surrogate and gestational surrogate.
Traditional surrogate: The surrogate acts as both the egg donor and as the actual surrogate for the embryo, and she is impregnated using a process known as intrauterine insemination, or IUI. In a traditional surrogacy, the woman carrying the baby is the biological mother because it was her eggs that was fertilized by the father’s sperm. This type of surrogacy is typically only used if the biological mother’s egg and/or the biological father’s sperm are unable to be used.
Gestational surrogate: In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate’s eggs are not used at all. The embryo would be created using the biological parents egg and sperm through the process called in-vitro fertilization (IVF). With this process, the baby wouldn’t be related to the surrogate mother biologically. This method is less legally complicated. Although Nigeria has no law as regards surrogacy but it’s usually advised you get the services of a lawyer to draft a legal binding contract to avoid future problems. By drafting a binding legal contract, everyone is clear and aware of its rights and obligations.
Nigeria is yet to acknowledge legally, and thus, provide policy guidelines and legislation to formalize and regulate surrogacy in the country. It means also there are no laws prescribing or proscribing surrogacy in the country. To the best of our knowledge and belief, the topic has not come up for detailed discussion in any legislative chambers in Nigeria. This has created a void, which is being and can be exploited further by illegal commercial operators with news of baby factories, baby sale, baby swap rife in the country. In England, surrogate arrangement is illegal and is banned by the surrogate amendment act of 1985. The surrogate mother maintains legal ownership of the child even in cases of gestational surrogacy, unless a parental order or adoption is made. Other counties, where it is illegal include Sweden, Finland, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and China. In Australia and Canada, whereas altruistic surrogacy is legal, commercial surrogacy is not permitted under the law. In Canada, reimbursement for attendant expenses is permitted but other payments are illegal. In South Africa, the surrogacy arrangement must be validated by the high court and the commissioning couple has the legal rights. In Ukraine, Russia and Georgia amongst others, surrogacy is legal. In the United States, legislation and legality of surrogacy varies from state to state.
In Nigeria, we have heard so many stories of illegal surrogacy. scenarios where people are usually caught for running or owning what we usually call “BABY MAKING FACTORY”. Situations where a matured woman or man, gathers group of girls together and people pay them to have children for them and in return would get paid.
I remember when my mum was saying if only she hadn’t had her tubes tied, she would have volunteered to be a surrogate for a family member who was having problems carrying a baby.
There is a need in Nigeria, for legal provisions for or against surrogacy. Such laws must provide for the legality or otherwise of the different types and forms of surrogacy taking into consideration the social, traditional, cultural, ethical, and psychological climate in the country. It should be able to regulate the procedure and processes of commercial surrogacy to avoid exploitation of a vulnerable population by surrogacy agents, while serving the interest of all concerned.
How to Choose a Surrogate
A lot of people would have preferred that a close family relation helped them out as regards being a surrogate mother to their child/children. But most times, it’s actually kicked against because of the emotionally ties. Patients are usually advised to go far with their search for a surrogate. You may want to do the following:
- Narrow your list down to those over the age of 21 that have already given birth to a healthy baby.
- Ask potential surrogates for references and run background checks on the final candidates.
- Choose a carrier with similar priorities and values.
- The surrogate’s medical history—this should include a genetic profile (traditional surrogates only), blood tests and obstetric history.
- The surrogate’s lifestyle choices including their history of drinking and substance abuse.
- The cost of the surrogacy process—this includes surrogacy compensation, health and life insurance, legal fees, agency fees, psychological screening and monitoring, travel costs, medical expenses, and egg donation compensation and expenses (if applicable) .
- The legal issues—the laws on surrogacy vary from state to state, so the location of your surrogate is an important issue to consider.
- What kind of relationship you wish to have with the surrogate after the child is born—you may wish the surrogate to remain an integral part of your child’s life, or have the relationship complete upon delivery.
How to Find a Surrogate
The funny thing about this particular aspect of how to find surrogate mother was that, i never believed that there were agencies in Nigeria that specialises in giving you the perfect surrogate of your choice. I have read from books and head from people that in most countries, there are many agencies established for this particular aspect. Its also good to know that we have such here in Nigeria although i don’t know how genuine they are. Some hospitals and fertility clinics also help in providing you with surrogates. However you decide to find or get a surrogate, just make sure you do the needful before giving such a person the responsibility or should i say privilege of bearing your child.
My sister and I saw this writing online that Kim kardashian’s surrogate would be paid $75k (i stand to be corrected), immediately she said “I WANT TO BE A SURROGATE”. whether she was joking or not, i don’t know but it made me wonder “why do people become surrogate? Is it because of the money or for the sole purpose of helping put a smile on the faces of a childless couple? Well for me, no matter the amount of money i would be paid, i don’t think i can be a surrogate although i would’ve loved to help. I just don’t know if I would be able to path ways with the baby..
A lot of people have turned the act of Surrogacy to business here in Nigeria to the extent that everyone is going online to express their interest in becoming a surrogate.
Have you ever thought of procuring the services of a surrogate? Do you prefer surrogacy to adoption? Which do you think is better. Can you be a surrogate to help someone?
It’s always about you………….never forget that.