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How Does the Surrogacy Motherhood Process Work in South Africa?

The surrogacy motherhood process in South Africa is complex. We highly recommend contacting a surrogacy lawyer to assist regarding legal questions and procedures, as this will help you to avoid costly mistakes. In the meantime, here are a few factors that you need to know about surrogacy.

Legal Requirements

A surrogacy agreement is drawn up by an attorney and, in addition to the agreement, supporting documents are submitted to a High Court of the country for confirmation where the intended parents reside. Only once confirmed by the High Court, may the IVF process commence.

Note that the surrogate mother goes through a screening process to determine whether she is medically, physically, emotionally and mentally fit to be a surrogate. The commissioning couple also undergoes a medical assessment to confirm their inability to carry the child to birth. The gametes of at least one of the commissioning parents must be used in the IVF process and at least one of them must reside in South Africa at the time of signing the agreement. The court will also consider their financial ability to take care of the child, their emotional and mental health, and support structures.

The law provides that the surrogate must be domicile in South Africa at the time of signing the agreement, must have the written consent of her partner, must have given birth to a living child of her own before, and must have at least one living child. She must be of child bearing age, and not addicted to any substance that can affect her and the child’s life.

Medical Process

The surrogate must first undergo a medical assessment process, which includes from thorough medical examinations to scans, blood tests, and vaginal swabs. The next step is to synchronise the commissioning mother’s cycle with that of the surrogate using hormonal treatment. The commissioning mother and the surrogate then commence with the usage of oral contraceptives to ensure that their cycles synchronise after the court order is obtained.

Once the synchronisation is successful, the commissioning or donor mother receives medical treatment to encourage the growth of eggs which will be used in the IVF process. At the same time, the surrogate commences with oestrogen medication to ensure that her uterus is receptive to the implanting of the fertilised embryos.

There are a number of variations on the process thereafter. A blood test is performed after about 16-18 days to establish whether the implant process was successful, and whether pregnancy has commenced. The surrogate will receive relevant medication up to her 12th week of pregnancy.

Though a thorough screening process is followed and every possible step is taken to ensure success of the IVF process, there are no guarantees. In many instances, the process must be repeated two or more times before it is successful.

Costs Involved

Several expenses must be kept in mind regarding the surrogacy motherhood process. The IVF process is generally expensive. Legal fees for the surrogate agreement setup, review, and submission to court in addition to medical costs, expenses related to assessments, transport costs, and compensation for the surrogate’s loss of income must be considered.

Where to Begin

We advise that you first consult with our surrogacy law team regarding the legal requirements and the procedure to follow. Once we have gone through the various aspects of surrogacy, we will assist you all the way until you are the happy parents of a beautiful baby boy or girl.