Ladidi is a career woman and married for a year. While she has no fertility issues, she feels she may not be able to carry a pregnancy due to her busy work schedule. She is now considering surrogacy.
Marian on the other hand is a twenty five-year old married woman in who adores her body alot. She thinks carrying a child may be too stressful and cause her body to become disfigured and unattractive.
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She has opted for surrogacy and is waiting for her husband who is reluctant to give his approval.
Idong is a single lady in her thirties. She has suffered several failed marriage promises from men and has now decided never to get married. However, she wants to have a child, through surrogacy using a sperm donor.
Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries a pregnancy for another couple or person, usually under a legal agreement. It is fast becoming a popular practice in the country particularly amongst infertile couples .
Women who help couples to have babies by carrying the pregnancy and delivering the babies are called surrogates or surrogate mothers.
While some women opt for surrogacy when they have medical issues that make pregnancy impossible or a risk , other women have diverse reasons for going for it.
However, a fertility expert and Chief Executive Officer of Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi has lamented the abuse of surrogacy in the country. He said that it is not every woman that needs surrogacy, adding that it is usually advised for medical reasons.
He said some people now practice ‘cosmetic surrogacy.’
He said , “Surrogacy is needed by people who don’t have uterus; either you have lost it or born without it. That is if you had terrible birth experience or hysterectomy or are born without a uterus.
“This can also be due to the removal of the uterus as a result of past experiences or because of multiple fibroid surgeries and in the process, the uterus was affected.”
He said another medical reason for surrogacy, is if a woman has a medical condition that doesn’t allow her to carry pregnancy or threatens her life.
Dr Abayomi said Nigerians are now making wrong surrogacy decisions because of money or one frivolous reason or the other.
“They are being guided by people who do not differentiate donor egg or surrogacy, because for some people all they need to use is donor egg, which is not the same as surrogacy,” he said.
The fertility expert said decision around surrogacy should respect the surrogate and be done properly instead of allowing commercial interest to drive it.
He said , “The patient taking decision must understand the reasons and the implications of the decision. This is because people may treat the surrogate like an ordinary object.
“Everybody deserves respect, especially someone doing such service to you. I am aware that in some countries, people just walk in to request surrogates and donors with negative consequences for the surrogates in some instances.”
The fertility expert said people participating in surrogacy must also understand what is involved and take necessary factors into cognizance.
“There are so many things needed for surrogacy like legal framework. For instance, we have been doing surrogacy for more that 14 years with the involvement of lawyers while we ensure that trustworthy people are involved,” he added.
According to experts at WebMD , there are two kinds of surrogate mothers. They are:
Traditional surrogates: The women who get artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm. They then carry the baby and deliver it for you and your partner to raise.
A traditional surrogate is the baby’s biological mother. That’s because it was their egg that was fertilized by the father’s sperm. Donor sperm can also be used.
Gestational surrogates: A technique called “in vitro fertilization” (IVF) now makes it possible to gather eggs from the mother (or an egg donor), fertilize them with sperm from the father (or a sperm donor), and place the embryo into the uterus of a gestational surrogate.
The surrogate then carries the baby until birth. They don’t have any genetic ties to the child because it wasn’t their egg that was used.
The experts say while there are no regulations about who can be a surrogate mother, they advise those who want to utilize it to choose surrogates who:
Are at least 21 years old.
Have already given birth to at least one healthy baby so they understand firsthand the medical risks of pregnancy and childbirth and the emotional issues of bonding with a newborn.
Have passed a psychological screening by a mental health professional to uncover any issues with giving up the baby after birth.
Sign a contract about their role and responsibilities in the pregnancy, such as prenatal care and agreeing to give you the baby after birth.