Arbitration & ADR, Insights

Exploring Surrogacy in Nigeria: A Compassionate Journey to Parenthood

INTRODUCTION

In April 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that infertility has become a global health issue affecting millions of people of reproductive age. The WHO estimates that 1 in 6 people will experience infertility in their lifetime, indicating the urgent need to increase access to affordable, high-quality fertility care. The family being the building block of society, there is no doubt that infertility could, potentially result in adverse consequences such as divorce, polygamy, social stigma, depression, domestic violence, etc.

In recent times, technological innovation in medical research and practice has resulted in the development of several treatments and remedies targeted at various causes of infertility, which includes surgical procedures; pharmacological interventions; and assisted conception, which could be intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilisation. Another important tool in the fight against infertility is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), which involves the surgical removal of an egg (or eggs) from a woman’s ovary, fertilization of the egg in a laboratory, and returning the fertilized egg into the uterus of the woman or a surrogate. While ART can be a game changer in infertility treatment, it presents health and legal challenges, especially when the treatment involves surrogacy, where there are potentially three or more ‘parents’ involved in the birth of a child.

In its simplest form, surrogacy involves a person agreeing to carry and give birth to baby for someone else, with the intention that when the baby is born, the surrogate will give custody of the baby to the intended parent or parents. Surrogacy can generally be divided into two types: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. With traditional surrogacy, the surrogate provides her egg, which is inseminated with the sperm of the intended father, meaning that the surrogate is biologically related to the child. On the other hand, with gestational surrogacy, the egg is procured from the intended mother and inseminated using the sperm of the intended father, and then placed in the uterus of the surrogate, who has no biological connection to the child.Surrogacy arrangements are also sub-divided in…

 

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