How to Become a Surrogate Mother in South Africa

You can become a surrogate mother if you have arranged to bear a child for another person/s, who will become the child’s parent/s in a pre-conception agreement. In South Africa, this arrangement must be supported by a legal agreement, the surrogate motherhood agreement.

The First “official” Surrogate Mother in South Africa

In 1987 Pat Anthony was the first “official” surrogate mother in South Africa. She was a surrogate mom for her daughter and successfully delivered triplets. 

In South Africa, the process has evolved and developed to such an extent that formal and official processes are now in place to safeguard both commissioning parents and surrogate mothers.

South African Laws Protecting Surrogate Mothers

The South African legislation governing surrogacy, and thus also the rights of the surrogate mother, is contained in Chapter 19 of the Children’s Act no 38 of 2005. Section 295 of this Act sets out the legal criteria that have to be in place before the High Court can consider approving a surrogate motherhood agreement. 

A related law is the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, No. 92 of 1996. This Act legislates, amongst other things, that only the surrogate mother can decide on the termination of pregnancy. 

Who Can Become a Surrogate Mother?

To become a surrogate mother in South Africa you, amongst other things,

  • must be medically suitable to carry a pregnancy to term;
  • must be psychologically stable
  • must understand and accept the legal consequences of the agreement;
  • must not be using surrogacy as a source of income;
  • must have a documented history of at least one pregnancy that you’ve carried to term; and 
  • must have a living child of your own.

How Do You Become a Surrogate Mother?

You are only allowed by law to volunteer to be a surrogate mother for altruistic reasons. You may not “sell” your services.  You may, however, tell your family, friends, clinics and other medical institutions that you will be interested in becoming a surrogate mother. 

During your first meeting with the parents who are looking for a surrogate, it is important to discuss all the details with them. The process must be followed step by step on the guidance of Robynne Friedman Attorneys. No steps regarding the pregnancy itself may be taken before the High Court has not approved all the agreements. 

Before the High Court is approached, you’ll have to undergo certain assessments, including medical, psychological and social worker assessments. 

Financial Aspects

Although you cannot receive any compensation for being a surrogate mother, the expenses regarding the following items must be paid by the commissioning parents:

  • The IVF treatments;
  • your pregnancy-related medical treatments and check-ups;
  • the birth of the child;
  • compiling of the relevant agreements;
  • High Court costs; 
  • loss of earning as a result of the surrogate agreement; and
  • medical and other insurance for anything that may lead to your death or disability brought about by the pregnancy. 

Next Step

It is recommended that you, as a prospective surrogate mother and the commissioning parents do not attempt to try go through the process alone. There are excellent legal companies, like Robynne Friedman Attorneys, who are specialists in surrogacy law to assist you. Talk to the commissioning parents and contact the attorneys before any agreements are signed.

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