EGG DONATION AND SURROGACY

 
 

 

Surrogacy is a method of assisted reproduction whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant for the purpose of gestating and giving birth to a child for others to raise.  She may be the child’s genetic mother (the more traditional method of surrogacy), or she may be implanted with an unrelated embryo.  In some cases, surrogacy is the only available option for parents who wish to have a child that is biologically related to them. 

 

Intended parents may arrange a surrogate pregnancy because a woman who intends to parent is infertile in such a way that she cannot carry a pregnancy to terms.  Examples include a woman who has had a hysterectomy, has a uterine malformation, has had recurrent pregnancy loss or has a health condition that makes it dangerous for her to be pregnant.  A female intending parent may also be fertile and healthy but unwilling to undergo pregnancy.  Alternatively, the intended parent may be a single male or a male homosexual couple.

 

 

DEFINITIONS

 

Surrogate mother is the woman who is pregnant with the child and intends to relinquish it after birth. 

 

 

Intended parents is the individual or couple who intends to rear the child

after its birth.

 

 

Gestational surrogacy the surrogate becomes pregnant via embryo transfer

with a child of which she is the biological mother.  She may have made an

arrangement to relinquish it to the biological mother or father to raise or to a

parent who is themselves unrelated to the child.

 

 

Altruistic surrogacy is a situation where the surrogate receives no financial reward for her pregnancy or the relinquishment of the child (although usually all expenses related to the pregnancy and birth are paid by the intended parents such as medical expenses, maternity clothing and other related expenses).

 

Commercial surrogacy is a form of surrogacy in which a gestational carrier is paid to Carry a child to maturity in her womb and is usually resorted to by Well off infertile couples who can afford the cost involved or people who save and borrow in order to complete their dream of being parents.  This procedure is legal in several countries including India where due to excellent medical infrastructure, high international demand and ready availability of poor surrogates it is reaching industry proportions.  Commercial surrogacy is sometimes referred to by the emotionally charged and potentially offensive terms “wombs for rent”, “outsourced pregnancies” or “baby farms”.

 

Surrogates may be relatives, friends or previous strangers.  Many surrogate arrangements are made through agencies that help match up intended parents with women who want to be surrogates for a fee.  The agencies often help manage the complex medical aid and legal aspects involved.  Surrogacy arrangements can also be made independently.  Careful screening is needed to assure their health as the gestational carrier incurs potential obstetrical risks.  The majority of surrogates are not motivated by financial reasons, but instead want to help another individual or couple to have a child.

 

 

Legality

 

There is a default legal assumption in most countries that the woman giving birth to a child is that child’s legal mother.  In some jurisdictions the possibility of surrogacy has been allowed and the intended parents may be recognized as the legal parents from birth.  Many states now issue pre-birth orders through the courts placing the name(s) of the intended parent(s) on the birth certificate from the start.  In others, the possibility of surrogacy is either not recognized or is prohibited.

 

Georgia – Since 1997 ovum and sperm donation and surrogacy is legal in Georgia.  According to the law a donor or surrogate mother has not parental rights over the child born.

 

Australia – In all states in Australia, the surrogate mother is deemed by the law to be the legal mother of the child as well and any surrogacy agreement giving custody to others is void.  In addition in many states arranging commercial surrogacy is a criminal offence, although New South Wales has no legislation governing surrogacy at all.

 

Canada – Commercial surrogacy arrangements were prohibited in 2004 by the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.  Altruistic surrogacy remains legal.

 

France – Commercial surrogacy arrangements are illegal in France.

 

India – Commercial surrogacy has been legal in India since 2002.  India is emerging as a leader making it into what can be called a viable industry rather than a rare fertility treatment.

 

Japan – In March 2008, the Science Council of Japan proposed a ban of surrogacy and said that doctors, agents and their clients should be punished for commercial surrogacy arrangements.

 

United Kingdom – Commercial surrogacy arrangements are illegal in the United Kingdom. 

 

United States – Compensated surrogacy arrangements are illegal in Washington, Michigan, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and New York.  Additionally four states in the US have held that such contracts, while not illegal, are unenforceable.  California is widely recognized as one of the most friendly jurisdictions for parties desiring to enter into a surrogacy arrangements.  Compensated surrogacy is legal in Oregon, Texas and Arkansas.  Texas requires the surrogate mother to be a resident of Texas.  Arkansas does not require surrogates to be residents.  Intended parents and surrogates resident in any state of the USA can enter into a legal surrogacy arrangement in Arkansas.  Provided that the child is born in Arkansas and that financial considerations are dispensed from Arkansas the contract will be recognized by Arkansas courts and upheld.

 

 

ETHICAL ISSUES

 

Mother – child relationship - A study by the Family and Child Psychology Research at City University, London, UK in 2002 concluded that surrogate mothers rarely had difficulty relinquishing rights to a surrogate child and that the intended mothers showed greater warmth to the child than mothers conceiving naturally.

 

Compensated surrogacy – Bio-ethicists are concerned that Indian surrogates are being badly paid for their surrogacy and that in addition they are working as surrogates in a country with a comparatively high maternal death rate.  Surrogate mothers in India under commercial surrogacy programs on the other hand usually are care for with amongst the best highly advanced medical, nutritional and overall care available in the field anywhere in the world.

 

Labour Employment Issues – Furthermore the relationship that the surrogate mother has with her employers has been scrutinized by several human rights activists who argue that it is morally unjust for an employer to have control over the body of their employee.

 

 

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USEFUL CONTACT INFORMATION OF SURROGACY AND EGG DONATION RELATED ORGANIZATIONS IN                    SOUTH AFRICA

 

1.            Surro-Moms South Africa

               Beverley Edwards - 082 815 4671 / bedwards@absa.mail.co.za

               http://www.myweb.absa.co.za/bedwards/

 

2.            SEEK {Joan Nathanson and Associates)

               seek@ananzi.co.za

               084 466 3790 / (011) 782 8554

 

3.            Jenny Currie

               Baby2mom - Donor egg and surrogacy programme

               www.baby2mom.co.za

               baby2mom@telkomsa.net

               +27 84 465 8353       

 

                     

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