What are the legal requirements for becoming a surrogate in South Africa?
The surrogate must:
- Be in good physical, mental and emotional health.
- Be able to carry and give birth to a child.
- Have the written consent of her partner (if any).
- Signing the agreement in South Africa.
- Have at least one living child.
- Have successfully given birth to a living child before.
Are there other considerations for becoming a surrogate mother?
Yes, one can only become a surrogate for altruistic reasons and may thus not financially gain from the process other than receiving compensation directly related to the expenses associated with the surrogacy. Fertility clinics prefer surrogates between the age of 21 and 42 that have a BMI that’s reasonable, non-smoking, and not have a medical history of two or more caesarean sections. The surrogate should have a good medical record and requires a strong family support system.
How much contact can the surrogate have with the child after birth?
The surrogacy agreement stipulates contact rights between the surrogate and the child. Unless so agreed in the contract, the surrogate and her family don’t have any rights to contact with the child.
Can a surrogate decide to terminate the pregnancy?
Yes, the law makes provision for the right to termination for medical reasons. The surrogate must inform the commissioning parents about the need and decision to do so. In this instance, the commissioning parents will still have to pay for the expenses. If, however, the surrogate decides to terminate the pregnancy for reasons other than medical, she must discuss the issue with the commissioning parents and will then be liable for the expenses associated with the surrogacy.
What are the medical processes for the surrogate?
The intending surrogate will need to undergo several evaluations and, once matched with the commissioning couple, will also need to undergo medical evaluations. Such evaluations include full examinations, reviewing of her medical history, and blood tests. The treatment process only starts after the surrogacy agreement has been signed by all parties involved, and a court order granted. She will receive medication for controlling of the menstrual cycle to coincide with that of the egg donor. After the eggs have been harvested and fertilisation takes place, the fertilised eggs are placed into her uterus. She will undergo monitoring and have to visit the attending medical specialist on agreed dates and give birth at the chosen hospital.
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