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Wombs for rent? Exploring Surrogacy

Is surrogacy the easiest way to becoming a mother? One would argue. Actually, the opposite is true. There is no better feeling than conceiving your own baby. It’s such a good feeling to feel someone kick you from the inside and waiting for nine months to see them. Yes, pregnancy journey may not be a walk in the park, Labour pains feels like hell on earth but pushing your own baby and holding them in your hand is so magical.

Unfortunately, not everyone can carry their own baby. There are various reasons that may hinder one from getting pregnant. These include:

  • Endometriosis– Itis the development of uterine-lining tissue outside the uterus. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, heavy periods, and infertility. 
  • If your partner has Low sperm count
  • Problems with the uterus or fallopian tubes
  • Problems with ovulation
  • Antibody problems that harm sperm or eggs
  • The inability of sperm to penetrate or survive in the cervical mucus

When you and your partner have such issues, then one ways to getting your own child is through surrogacy.

What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy is a method of assisted reproduction that helps intended parents start or grow families when they can’t do so on their own. It is an incredible journey that is rewarding for both surrogates, as well as intended parents.

There are many types of surrogacy that include gestational, traditional, compensated, domestic, international, agency and independent surrogacy. I will be expounding more on all these types in the coming posts. You need to follow my page not to miss out. For now, I would like to focus on Gestational surrogacy.

What is gestational surrogacy?

In gestational surrogacy, the child is not biologically related to the surrogate mother, who is often referred to as a gestational carrier. Instead, the embryo is created via In Vitro Fertilization a process that involves combining eggs and sperm outside the body in a laboratory. Once an embryo or embryos form, they are then placed in the uterus of the surrogate mother. The surrogate is just the carrier of the baby and has no genetic relation with the baby.

What is the process of gestational surrogacy?

  1. Decide if Surrogacy is the Right Choice– Surrogacy is not an easy journey. It needs psychological, emotional, financial readiness. Just like with any major decision, couples and individuals considering surrogacy should carefully research surrogacy laws, consider its pros and cons, and even speak with various surrogacy professionals to truly understand if surrogacy is right for them. For instance, most people are worried about bonding with the child they sired through surrogacy. Counselling beforehand makes the journey easier and better.
  1. Prepare for surrogacy-You need to determine the method of surrogacy. You need to decide whether to use a surrogacy agency where the agency will help you get a perfect surrogate mother or surrogate attorney to helps you with the legal process. The legal process includes agreement on acceptance by the surrogate mother to carry pregnancy for the intended parents and the compensation/payment for the surrogate mother.  Both parties sign a contract about their role and responsibilities in the pregnancy, such as prenatal care and agreeing to give the intended parents the baby after birth
  2. Screening of surrogate mother- The interested surrogate mother be it your friend, relative or a stranger has to undergo medical examination to ensure that she is good condition and she can carry pregnancy full term. Some of these test include HIV/Aids, high blood pressure, diabetes, STDs etc. Also, mental examination is carried out to ensure that the surrogate mother is in the right state of mind.
  3. Fertilization and embryo transfer process- The intended mother or egg donor will be given medication to help her develop eggs and will undergo an egg retrieval procedure. Similarly, will be administered medications to stimulate sperm production. When the time is right, he will undergo a relatively minor sperm retrieval procedure. Once the eggs from the mother have been harvested, they are fertilized using sperm from the intended father. The embryos are incubated and assessed for development prior to being transferred to the surrogate mother. The surrogate mother will undergo fertility treatments prior to the embryo transfer and during the pregnancy. When it is time, the intended parents’ fertilized egg will be placed in your uterus for implantation. The transfer procedure is relatively quick and painless and does not require medication or anesthesia. A few weeks later, the surrogate mother will return to the fertility clinic to take a pregnancy test and confirm the pregnancy. She will continue to visit the fertility clinic for regular blood tests and ultrasounds to track the progress of the pregnancy. She begins to take pregnancy supplements just like in the normal pregnancy.
  4. Welcome new baby– After the long surrogacy process, the birth of the baby is a life-changing event for both the surrogate and the intended parents. Most times, the intended parents will join the surrogate at the hospital for this momentous experience. In most cases, the surrogate mother is not allowed to see the baby to avoid that emotional attachment with the baby. This is especially if the surrogate is a stranger. The new parents go home with the baby and the surrogate may just never see the baby.

Is surrogacy legal in Kenya?

Sadly, there is no law governing surrogacy in Kenya. There is always controversy in hospitals on whose name will be written on the birth certificate. Is it the surrogate mother’s name or the intended parent? A much known case is by the former Taita Taveta women REP Joyce Lay who was forced to adopt her baby she sired through surrogacy. Not with standing, surrogacy is still happening in Kenya. We cannot deny the fact that infertility is here with us. In a country that want to fore front as far as scientific innovation is concerned, why not support such a noble cause? Kenya is not the only country battling with this menace. In Philippines for instance, surrogacy was declared illegal in 2017 and thereafter, all surrogate mothers were forced to raise those babies.

This is my take, that surrogacy is a noble cause. In most countries like India, women especially from poor background have opted to help couples that cannot have children by themselves. In return, the Indians are well compensated and this helps them to be financially stable hence supporting their families. The infertile couple is then able to go home with their own baby. Being a mom is not just by the ability to give birth but also raising the baby. Do you think it’s time we legalise SURROGACY? Share your thought.

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