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Things to Know About Becoming a Surrogate in South Africa

Your friend or a family member may be struggling to conceive or to give birth to a healthy baby and knowing that they really want a child of their own, you may wonder if becoming a surrogate to help them will be the answer. However, not knowing the route and requirements for becoming a surrogate may hold you back.

We have briefly covered the requirements for a surrogate in South Africa, helping you to determine whether you will be able to fit the profile and assist your friends.

No Financial Gain, but Compensation for Costs

In South Africa becoming a surrogate cannot be for commercial gain. The so-called “wombs-for-hire” principle is illegal in the country. You thus also cannot receive a monthly amount for the period. The commissioning parents, however, must carry the costs of:

  • Doctor visits.
  • Hospitalisation.
  • Birthing.
  • Life insurance.
  • Court application and legal fees.
  • Travelling costs to get to the medical centre.
  • Medical tests.
  • Psychological assessments.
  • Social work visits.
  • Compensation for loss of income if you are unable to work during the pregnancy.


Health Requirements

You must be in good health and this also implies not smoking, using alcohol, long-term medication or drugs. In addition, you have to undergo a medical assessment to determine your general health and ability to carry the baby and successfully give birth. In this respect the law requires that you must have successfully carried and given birth to a live and healthy child before. You should furthermore have at least one living child of your own. Age will definitely be considered and you will need to be at least 21 years old.

Other Legal Requirements

Your partner must provide written consent for becoming a surrogate. The Court will still review the surrogacy and override the written consent if your partner unreasonably withholds it. You must reside in South Africa at the time of signing the surrogacy agreement and you must undergo psychological and social work assessments to determine your mental and emotional stability, as well as support network.

Surrogacy Agreement

An attorney must draw up the surrogacy agreement and all parties must consent to the conditions of the agreement. The attorney will submit the agreement to the High Court for approval together with supporting documents. Such documents include, but are not limited to the health, psychological and social work assessments regarding the commissioning parents and you as the potential surrogate mother.

The gametes of at least one of the commissioning parents must be used and at least one of the commissioning parents must reside in South Africa at the time of signing the agreement. Should the surrogacy proceedings commence before confirmation of the agreement by the High Court then the agreement will be illegal and you will become the rightful parent of the child.

No Adoption Needed

In the past with surrogacy the commissioning parents had to adopt the child after birth. It is no longer the case. They become the rightful parents upon birth of the child. Unless specified in the agreement you and your family will have no right to contact with the child.

Contact us at Adele van der Walt Incorporated for legal guidance on becoming a surrogate in South Africa.


Note that the information in this article is for information purposes only and should not be seen as an attempt to provide legal advice. We strongly recommend that you contact us at Adele van der Walt Incorporated for professional legal advice.