Are you trying to conceive?here’s what to know about the surrogacy option
Recently, more people are choosing to birth via surrogacy for several reasons ranging from infertility, medical reasons to social reasons. Some celebrities including a famous footballer have opted for the option of surrogacy. This has elicited several questions about surrogacy and sparked controversies as regards its use based on social grounds.
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for the couple who want to have a child.
How does surrogacy work?
Full surrogacy (also known as Host or Gestational);Involves the implantation of an embryo created using either:
• the eggs and sperm of the intended parents
• a donated egg fertilised with sperm from the intended father
• an embryo created using donor eggs and sperm.
Partial surrogacy (also known Straight or Traditional);Involves sperm from the intended father and an egg from the surrogate. Here fertilisation is (usually) done by artificial insemination or intrauterine insemination (IUI).
Who are those likely to opt for surrogacy?
If you’re a woman, you may consider a surrogate for several reasons:
• Medical problems with your uterus
• You had a hysterectomy that removed your uterus
• Conditions that make pregnancy impossible or risky for you, such as severe heart disease
• Repeated in vitro fertilisation (IVF) implantation failures.
Surrogates have also made parenthood an option for people who might not be able to adopt a child, perhaps because of their age or marital status.
What determines the success of surrogacy?
It is quite difficult to determine a success rate for surrogacy, as many factors are relevant, including:
• the surrogate’s ability to get pregnant
• the age of the egg donor (if involved)
• the success of procedures such as IUI and IVF
• the quality of gamete provided by the comissioning couple.
• the age of the woman who provides the egg is the most important factor that affects chances of pregnancy.
How do you find a surrogate?
There are several ways you can find a surrogate mother. These methods are via;
• Friends or family: Sometimes you can ask a friend or relative to be a surrogate for you. It’s somewhat controversial. But because of the high cost of surrogacy and the complex legal issues it raises about parental rights, a tried-and-tested family relationship can be simpler to manage.
• A surrogacy agency:An agency helps you find a surrogate and make arrangements. It also collects any fees that get passed between you and the surrogate, such as paying for her medical expenses. Some IVF clinics in Nigeria can help you find a surrogate.
Choosing a surrogate: what are the factors?
You should choose a surrogate who:
• Is at least 21 years old
• Has already given birth to at least one healthy baby so she understands firsthand the medical risks of pregnancy and childbirth and the emotional issues of bonding with a newborn
• Has passed a psychological screening by a mental health professional to uncover any issues with giving up the baby after birth
• Is free of infectious diseases that could be harmful to the fetus like HIV, HBV, HCV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia
• Signs a contract about her role and responsibilities in the pregnancy, such as prenatal care and agreeing to give you the baby after birth
What are the laws regarding surrogacy in Nigeria?
Gestational surrogacy is currently practiced in Nigeria by a few IVF clinics. The guidelines are as approved by the practice guidelines of the Association of Fertility and Reproductive Health (AFRH) of Nigeria. The ART regulation that is currently being considered by the Senate permits surrogacy and allows some inducement to be paid for transport and other expenses.
Legal issues with surrogates
There isn’t a federal law on surrogacy. Parental rights aren’t guaranteed after a surrogate pregnancy.To protect your rights as parents-to-be and the rights of the child you’re hoping to have, hire a lawyer who specializes in reproductive law. He can write a surrogacy contract that clearly spells out what everyone needs to do.A contract like that may help if legal issues come up after birth. It can also outline agreements about a variety of possible scenarios with the pregnancy, such as what happens if there are twins or triplets.
It is advisable to receive counselling before starting the surrogacy process, to help you think about all the questions.
Are you considering surrogacy as an option for birth, feel free to contact us for clarifications.