Sunday, April 7, 2013

[Nigeria] - Surrogacy - Can You Carry Someone Else's Child? - by Ojoma Akor - AllAfrica

Nigeria is not a country that one readily associates with surrogacy, indeed it seems rare that the topic is even discussed in Africa (possibly outside South Africa).  However Ojoma Akor writing for AllAfrica has a piece on surrogacy in Nigeria and it is well worth a read.

[Source: AllAfrica]

Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries a pregnancy for another couple or person. It is gradually becoming a popular means of having a baby or creating a family in this country particularly amongst infertile couples. Couples opt for surrogacy when a woman has medical issues which makes pregnancy impossible or a risk. Gay couples also look for surrogates to have children for them.

Women who help couples to have babies by carrying the pregnancy and delivering the child are called Surrogates or surrogate mothers.

A Fertility Expert and Managing Director of Nordica Fertility Centre, Abuja, Dr Abayomi Ajayi said there are two types of Surrogacy. "They are traditional surrogacy and the IVF surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is artificially inseminated with the sperm of the intending father, so she gets pregnant with her own eggs and that of the man who wants the baby as his wife cannot carry the child. The second type of Surrogacy can only happen through In vitro Fertilization (IVF). Here the eggs of the surrogate mother are not used. She is just a carrier, the egg and sperm of the commissioning couple or those donated by other people are fertilized through IVF and put in the person that is having the baby."

A woman can offer to be a surrogate for monetary gain called commercial surrogacy or for the sake of just helping someone in need such as a sister, daughter or friend. In the second part too there maybe exchange of money to pay for medical expenses during the pregnancy among others.

While some people may think Surrogacy is rarely practiced in Nigeria and only in the Western world, it is happening and only seems not common because some Couples and surrogates do not publicize it when they do. The secrecy associated with it is even fast disappearing as several Nigerian women are now registered with surrogacy websites and fertility clinics. On some popular international surrogacy sites like there are profiles of hundreds of Nigerian women from different parts of the country, single or married alike and those who have children or have never had children before, calling on interested couples to hire them as surrogate mothers. Some of them specify they want to travel to any part of the world to be surrogate mothers.

Reasons they gave for wanting to be Surrogate mothers include bringing joy into childless homes by helping them to have children of their own, helping to stop divorce or break down of relationships as a result of childlessness, need money to take care of family issues or problems among others

Dr Abayomi said Surrogacy is happening in the country."We have quite a number of people doing surrogacy in Nigeria. Many people or women who cannot carry their own pregnancy and have no other options are doing Surrogacy. Especially women who have problems with their wombs or their Uterus is damaged, they need someone to carry the baby and so they go for surrogacy."

He said usually before surrogacy is carried out there is the signing of a legal agreement and the involvement of a lawyer. "It can't be done without a lawyer or legal agreement. When the child is born it can be taken way immediately by the intending couple or weeks after birth depending on what was signed in the agreement."

He said the advantage of Surrogacy primarily includes the fact that it helps people who cannot carry babies to carry a child through someone else and have their own child or children.

He said the disadvantage of the process is that things may go wrong for both parties that is the carrier or the couple needing the baby.

The Homefront went out to ask some women if they can be a surrogate mother.

Mrs Juliana Aboh, a 55 year old Civil Servant said right now she cannot carry another person's child because she feels she is old. But in her younger days she can be a surrogate for her children and siblings only and not anybody not related to her by blood, just to help them have a child.

Joy Amanabo, a Banker on her part said she cannot be a surrogate mother for any reason. "I can't stand the fact that I will carry a child in my womb for nine months going through stress and sickness and then the child will be taken away from me and I will not have any claims to the child. Even where it was not my eggs that was used but only my womb, the fact that the child has bond with me in the womb will make it painful to let go. Though the practice is really good and helps those who can't have children, the sacrifice involved on the part of the surrogate mother is too much and I commend those who do it. Especially women who allow their eggs to be used with the sperm of a donor or a man who is not their husband and then give the child to the man's wife to be the mother. I personally don't have the mind to do that."

Binta Mohammed, a journalist said she cannot be a surrogate mother. "I dislike taking drugs and injections even when I am sick not to talk of going through that ordeal in pregnancy just for someone else. What if I develop complication during and after the pregnancy. After birth because of what my body has been through, and the sickness and problems associated with pregnancy, I may not want to hand over the child, I might even run away with the child. And if I allow them to take the child, I will be traumatized. The suppressed breast milk and others signs after delivery may make me attached or have a bond with the baby, this will make me want to go and contact or see the baby and take care of him which is not allowed, so to avoid fighting with those people or the relative in question, I will rather not do it," she said.

Rita Obande, a Fashion Designer said she can do it out of pity for a couple who needs the child and on the promise that they will take proper care of the child once she surrenders it to them.

Azumi Jagaba, a Housewife said she cannot be a surrogate mother. "I will never do it for money and even for my relatives and infertile couples, no matter how I love or pity them rather I will continue to pray consistently to God to give them their own".

However, Amina Garba another Housewife said she can do it for a blood relative to remove tears from their eyes especially if their situation is very pathetic or the person is about losing her home and marriage.

Mono Abraham, a student said she can be a surrogate mother if the intending couples are well to do, have good character and potentials to take proper care of the child. "It is like helping someone in need and at the same time giving your blood a better life," she said .

[Source: AllAfrica]

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