As childless couples are embracing surrogacy in Nigeria.
How does it feel to carry a baby for 9 months, go through the pains of labour to deliver the baby and then gladly hand over the baby to a total stranger to take home? Can you do it for your sister or your friend? Will you accept money for this task? If yes, how much? What does the Nigerian laws say about surrogacy? Let us explore the world of surrogacy in Nigeria to get informed and educated.
Surrogacy is one of the tools used to fight against infertility. Hundreds of Nigerian couples have embraced surrogacy and are are still embracing surrogate mothers to either start their families or complete their family size.
Least talked about compared to invitro fertilization, surrogacy is now an open secret in Nigeria.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a process whereby willing ladies are contacted by either couples or fertility clinics to help carry pregnacies on behalf of childless couples.
It often happens where married women find it difficult getting pregnant or where they have issues with their wombs. It is also done sometimes in couples with recurrent IVF implantation failure.
Types of surrogacy
There two main types depending on whether the baby share a genetic tie with the baby or not. There the traditional surrogate (natural) or the IVF surrogate (gestational surrogate). Both require a surrogate mother to carry the baby for the intending parents.
Traditional surrogacy uses the the biological father’s sperm to artificially inseminate the surrogate mother who then carries the baby for the intended parents. A natural surrogate shares a genetic link with the baby she carries.
The gestational surrogacy uses ivf to create an embryo that is then deposited in the surrogate to carry. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate shares no genetic link with the baby she carries.
Gestational surrogacy allows many intending couples to become biological parents, conjtributing embryos created from their own egg and sperm. If an egg donor is needed, intended parents would need to find a suitable egg donor that would provide egg to be fertilised by the intended father’s sperm through invitro fertilization.
Finding a surrogate in Nigeria
It seems difficult but it is actually easy. Prospective surrogate mothers now publicly advertise themselves on the internet and other social media platform. Check their adverts below (names withheld)…..
I don’t know what to say but i can assure you that if you choose me as your surrogate mother to your unborn child, I will not dissappoint you.
I am 26 years old with black hair and brown eyes. I am very fertile with 2 healthy kids. You wont regret having you baby with me.
These surrogate mothers are usually sought for by fertility clinics or surrogacy agencies as intending couples usually do not get to meet them for personal and future reasons.
A friend or relative could also be engaged as a surrogate but this is very rare in Nigeria.
A prospective surrogate is thoroughly screened and counseled. A surrogate should not have medical disorders like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, kidney problems, or blood group incompatibilities and should not smoke, take alcohol or abuse drugs. She must be free of all the sexually transmitted infections like HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B and C.
If she has been pregnant before with a baby, the higher chances she will be picked.
During the screening process, fertility clinics/surrogacy agencies usually enter a legal agreement with the surrogate mothers on behalf of the intending parents in the presence of an attorney or lawyer.
Cost of surrogacy in Nigeria. How much do surrogate mothers earn in Nigeria?
Surrogacy in Nigeria is not free. None of the surrogate mothers I interviewed was ready to reveal the amount of money they collect from intending couples. Neither was the fertility clinics and the surrogate agencies.
A willing surrogate mother who had successfully carried a baby 2 times for intending parents said she was paid between #600,000- #800,000 naira by the surrogate agencies/parents of the baby.
Another prospective surrogate mother meet with the intending parents and they agreed on a price/fee of #350,000 naira.
You can now see that surrogate mothers depending on how experienced they are make a lot of money in Nigeria.
Surrogacy is a multi-million naira business in Nigeria that costs between #500,000 to #800,000 naira.
Is surrogacy legal in Nigeria? Surrogacy and the Nigerian law
Surrogacy throws up legal issues pertaining to maternity, paternity and contract problems. Several countries have taken legal positions against, or for, surrogacy in its entirety or regarding certain aspects, procedures and practices.
In Nigeria, surrogacy is currently practiced by a few IVF/fertility clinics under practice guidelines from the Association of Fertility and Reproductive Health of Nigeria (AFRHN). An assisted reproduction technology regulation that has passed first reading in the Senate permits surrogacy and allows payments for transport, medications and other expenses.
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Read more on surrogacy on Wikipedia