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How Surrogacy Compensation Works in South Africa

The Children’s Act of 2005 prohibits surrogacy compensation in South Africa for expenses not directly related to the surrogacy. The surrogacy agreement should stipulate which expenses are covered by the commissioning couple. You may, for instance, not pay the surrogate on a monthly basis as such would mean that she falls within the so-called category of wombs for hire.

Expenses that can be paid by the commissioning couple include:

  • Medical assessment.
  • Social worker assessment.
  • Psychological assessment.
  • IVF process.
  • Doctor visits related to the surrogacy.
  • Hospitalisation.
  • Loss of earnings.
  • Medical aid contributions.
  • Travel expenses.
  • Insurance.
  • Maternity wear.
  • Post-birth confinement costs while the surrogate mother recovers.
  • Legal fees.

The IVF process is expensive and the commissioning couple must thus be in a financial position to afford such. Costs for IVF vary. One must also keep in mind that the process may need to be repeated if not successful on the first attempt.

It is illegal for any party to receive commission or any type of monetary benefit from a surrogacy. This does not mean that the expenses related to legal representation and work cannot be paid, it simply means that one cannot pay a finder’s or facilitation fee. The surrogate cannot be compensated in any form for carrying the child. She thus does so purely as an unselfish act.

Important to Remember

The surrogate must reside in South Africa at the time of signing the agreement and must be in good physical health and within child bearing age. She must have the written consent of her partner and must have given birth to a live child before. She must also have at least one living child of her own.

With surrogacy being an altruistic act in South Africa, it goes without saying that there are not thousands of people advertising their willingness to be surrogates. To find a suitable person, the commissioning couple may first want to approach family members or friends. They can also approach one of the fertility clinics in South Africa where they normally have lists of pre-screened and approved candidates. Surrogate candidates are usually required to have a BMI of less than 35, must be younger than 42 years old, live healthy lifestyles, and must be emotionally and mentally stable. They normally also have a good support structure.

Two types of surrogacy are at present practiced. The first is the traditional surrogacy where the surrogate is also the donor of the eggs, and the second is gestational surrogacy where the fertilised embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s womb. The donor eggs can be from one of the commissioning parents or from another donor not genetically related to the child.

Note that in either case the surrogate has no parental rights to the child. The commissioning parents become the rightful parents of the child upon the child’s birth and there is no adoption process to follow. It is also important to remember that at least one of the commissioning parents must provide gametes for the IVF process.

Before any such steps are taken, however, it is recommended to consult with a medical law or surrogate attorney regarding the correct legal procedure to follow also when it comes to surrogacy compensation issues. Contact Adele van der Walt Incorporated today for further details.