Q&A: All you need to know about surrogacy
Robynne Friedman, an attorney specialising in surrogacy law, answers some often-asked questions.
Q: How do I start the process of becoming a surrogate?
A: There are many clinics in South Africa you can approach, including many established and respected fertility clinics. Contact the Surrogacy Advisory Group http://www.surrogacy.co.za/ for more information – they will point you in the right direction and tell you anything else you need to know.
Q: Is there a legal process to follow?
Yes. Before anything can be done medically the surrogate and the commissioning parents need to obtain a High Court agreement laying out the terms and conditions of the surrogacy. No clinic will proceed with the process before this has been obtained.
Counselling is also imperative to the process – the idea of surrogacy can be very different to the practical reality and surrogates need to be fully informed of the legal ramifications, the emotional cost and the expectations.
Q: Does a surrogate mom have any legal rights to the baby?
A: If a surrogate’s own eggs are used in the fertilization process she has the right to give notice of her intention to keep the child within 60 days of the birth – just as in the adoption process. If her eggs are not used in the process, she has no rights to the baby.
Q: Does any money exchange hands between the commissioning parents and the surrogate?
The New Children’s Act of 2010 stipulates that no commercial surrogacy be permitted and no money may change hands. The only payment between commissioning parents and surrogate is for out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the pregnancy and all the medical costs. Women don’t go into surrogacy for commercial gain – it is purely altruistic.
Q: If the Constitutional Court upholds the ruling that there need be no genetic link in surrogacy, will commissioning parents have an idea who the egg and sperm donors are?
A: They won’t be told who the donors are but they will be shown pictures of the donors as children and be told their professions, talents and hobbies as well as physiological things like the colour of their eyes and skin, how tall they are, etc.
Surrogacy: What the proposed new law means
Robynne’s story: “We had a baby via a surrogate”
Diane’s story I was a surrogate – after having twins via artificial insemination