How Do You Become a Surrogate Mother in South Africa?
If you hope to become a surrogate mother for commercial gain, you will be disappointed to learn that it is illegal in South Africa to benefit commercially from surrogacy. As such, if you want to go through the process, make sure it is for altruistic reasons:
- Helping a family member or friend to experience the joy of having a biologically related child.
- Assisting a same-gender male couple to have a child of their own. (Female same gender, does not constitute surrogacy.)
- Assisting a couple in South Africa that is infertile or unable to carry and give birth, to have a child of their own.
The first step in becoming a surrogate mother in South Africa is to obtain legal guidance to ensure that you understand the legal requirements and consequences of surrogacy. The next step, often with assistance from the attorney, is to approach a fertility clinic where they will assist in determining whether or not you qualify as a surrogate; if you are willing to become a surrogate with the purpose of helping a couple who you don’t yet know.
Note that the fertilisation process may not commence unless a surrogacy agreement approved by a High Court of the country is in place. This is extremely important, as the surrogacy agreement is invalid unless Court confirmation has been given. The Court reviews the terms and conditions of the agreement, the supporting evidence and motivation as to why the commissioning couple wants to make use of a surrogate, whether all legal requirements have been met, and whether you qualify as surrogate.
The child’s rights and future well-being are considered. As such, the Court also reviews supporting evidence regarding the couple’s ability to raise and care for the child. Aspects such as the couple’s emotional and mental stability and their reasons for opting for surrogacy are taken into consideration. The Court will review whether there is enough supporting evidence to show that you are medically, mentally and emotionally able to go through the surrogacy process, whether you have family support, whether you already have a living child of your own, whether you have given birth to a living child before, and whether you have the consent of your partner. Also note that you must reside in South Africa at the time of signing the agreement.
The commissioning couple also has to undergo medical and psychological assessments. At least one of them must reside in South Africa at the time of signing the agreement and the gametes of at least one of them must be used in the fertilisation process. You do have the right to terminate the pregnancy for reasons other than medical, but only after discussing the issue with the parents and only within the allowable timeframe and by following the correct legal procedures. The commissioning couple is responsible for the costs associated with the surrogacy, but should you terminate the pregnancy for non-medical reasons, then you will be responsible for the costs up to the termination.
We recommend speaking to our legal team regarding all aspects of becoming a surrogate mother in South Africa to ensure that the correct procedures are followed.