The Legal Steps Involved in Becoming a Surrogate Mother
The surrogacy laws of South Africa differ from other countries where surrogacy agreements may not be allowed at all or where surrogacy can be done for commercial gain.
You may have a friend or family member who is unable to carry a child to birth or who is infertile. It is essential to understand the legal steps involved in becoming a surrogate mother before you offer to make the sacrifice for the friend or family member. In this regard, we recommend getting legal guidance as to avoid emotional and costly legal pitfalls.
What is Required of You as Surrogate?
You must be of childbearing age and able to take legal responsibility when signing the agreement. Part of the process entails undergoing medical assessments to determine whether you are healthy enough, not addicted to any substances that can be harmful to you or the baby that you carry, and able to give birth to the child.
You will also be required to undergo a psychological assessment to determine whether you are emotionally able to handle the strain that goes with being pregnant and having to give the child up. In addition, the assessment will be used to determine your emotional and mental stability.
A third assessment entails a social worker interview to determine whether you have the family support needed during the process.
The results of the assessments will be submitted to the Court, along with the application to have the surrogacy agreement confirmed. Note that you may not proceed with the IVF process unless the Court has approved the agreement.
As part of the legal steps involved in becoming a surrogate mother in South Africa, you will be required to provide specific information. This also entails getting written consent from your partner for the surrogacy.
You will need proof of having successfully given birth to a living and healthy child before and must have at least one living child of your own. In addition, you must reside in South Africa at the time of signing the agreement.
You have the right to financial compensation for costs directly associated with the surrogacy, including the costs of assessments, transport to and from the hospital and doctor’s offices, doctor costs, loss of income as the result of not being able to work if there are complications for which you need to take time off from work, hospitalisation, pre-natal care, blood tests, etc.
The commissioning parents carry the above costs, but you may not commercially benefit from being a surrogate.
You have the right to terminate the pregnancy for medical reasons, but only after having discussed the issue with the commissioning parents. In this instance, you will not be held accountable for costs associated with the surrogacy. If, however, you decide to terminate the pregnancy for other reasons, you will be accountable for costs associated with the surrogacy.
Note that unless the surrogacy agreement makes provision for contact with the child by you or your family that you will not have any right to seek such contact. Once the baby is born, you will have no parental rights as the child legally becomes the child of the commissioning parents upon birth.
Call on us for professional guidance regarding the legal steps involved in becoming a surrogate mother in South Africa.