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Top 5 Things You Should Be Aware of When Exploring Surrogacy

Many couples struggle to become pregnant or to give birth to a child and thus long for the joy of having a baby of their own. Most people, however, only look to surrogacy as a last resort. Though adoption is a viable option, couple struggling to have a child of their own often hope to give birth to a child through the use of their own gametes and don’t want to adopt a baby that’s not related to them.

What to Look for

If you and your partner are considering surrogacy as an alternative to adoption, it’s important to first do your homework. The top five things you should be aware of when exploring surrogacy in South Africa are discussed below, helping you in the decision-making process.

Surrogate Selection

Miscarriages and complications affect the commissioning parents in much the same way as parents going through conventional pregnancies. The process is sometimes an emotional roller coaster ride, taking its toll on the couple’s finances and their relationship.

When thus selecting the surrogate, it’s imperative to choose a person that’s in excellent health. South African law states that the surrogate must be in good health and must already have a living child of her own. It doesn’t, however, mean that the surrogate will not experience complications during pregnancy. If a person has a history of high blood pressure, water retention or perhaps suffers from a rare condition such as anti-phospholipids syndrome, the risk of complications increases. Though the fertility specialist may still be able to go ahead with the IVF treatment, as commissioning parents, you also need to consider whether you can afford the costs associated with several IVF treatments and miscarriages.


It’s illegal in South Africa to pay someone to be a surrogate. This doesn’t mean that the entire process will be free, but that you cannot compensate a person for anything not directly related to the costs associated with the surrogacy. You, however, have to budget for the following:

  • Compensation for loss of income if the surrogate takes time off from work.
  • Expenses related to hospitalisation of the surrogate.
  • Doctor visits by the surrogate.
  • IVF treatments.
  • Medical and psychological tests of the commissioning parents and the surrogate.
  • Lawyer fees.
  • Surrogate agreement fees.

Visit a medical law attorney to discuss the expected costs. Determine whether you can afford the entire process. Remember to make provision for unforeseen costs and the risk of miscarriage. Every miscarriage implies having to go the through IVF process and pregnancy again. This will mean more costs and if you haven’t budgeted for such, you may eventually have to give up on the idea of surrogacy because of the financial costs involved.

Legal Requirements

See to it that all legal requirements are met. The surrogate must be resident in South Africa and should meet the medical, health, and psychological requirements. Conduct a thorough background check on the surrogate. In South Africa, the surrogate goes through the process for altruistic reasons and the risk of the person not caring about the health of the child is thus low.

Parental Claims

Fortunately for commissioning parents in South Africa, the law states that they become the legal parents when the child is born. They therefore don’t have to go through an adoption process. To avoid complicated family situations do not enter into a surrogate agreement with a close relative or friend if her gametes will be used together with that of your partner. In such an instance, it’s better to make use of the services offered by someone completely unrelated to you or your partner.

Contact us to discuss legal requirements and to help you set-up a surrogacy agreement.