Surrogacy, a method of assisted reproduction where a woman carries and gives birth to a child on behalf of another person or couple, is a complex and evolving practice in Nigeria. It raises numerous legal, ethical, and social issues, and is a topic of growing interest and debate in the country.
In Nigeria, surrogacy is not explicitly regulated by law, and there is no specific legislation governing surrogacy arrangements. As a result, surrogacy is often conducted informally, without clear legal frameworks or safeguards for the parties involved. This lack of legal regulation poses challenges and risks for all parties involved, including the intended parents, the surrogate mother, and the child.
One of the main reasons why surrogacy is sought in Nigeria is due to issues of infertility, which can be a deeply emotional and distressing experience for couples who desire to have a child. Surrogacy offers a glimmer of hope for those who are unable to carry a pregnancy to term or have medical conditions that make pregnancy impossible. In some cases, surrogacy may also be sought by same-sex couples, single individuals, or those who have other personal or medical reasons for needing a surrogate.
However, surrogacy in Nigeria is not without challenges. One of the main challenges is the lack of clear legal guidelines and protections for all parties involved. The absence of specific legislation leaves surrogacy arrangements vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and legal disputes. There have been reported cases of surrogate mothers being exploited, poorly compensated, or left without proper legal recognition or protection. In some cases, surrogate mothers may be coerced or pressured into entering into surrogacy arrangements without fully understanding the legal and emotional implications.
Another issue related to surrogacy in Nigeria is the cultural and social attitudes towards the practice. Nigeria is a diverse country with various cultural and religious beliefs, and attitudes towards surrogacy can vary significantly depending on these factors. Some cultural and religious beliefs may view surrogacy as taboo, unnatural, or contrary to traditional family values. This can result in social stigma, discrimination, or ostracism for those involved in surrogacy arrangements, including the intended parents, the surrogate mother, and the child.
Furthermore, the issue of parentage and citizenship can also be complicated in surrogacy cases in Nigeria. The lack of clear legal regulations can result in uncertainty regarding the legal status and citizenship of the child born through surrogacy. This can have implications for the child’s access to citizenship, nationality, and inheritance rights.
Despite these challenges, there have been efforts to regulate surrogacy in Nigeria. Some organizations and experts have called for the development of comprehensive legal frameworks that protect the rights and interests of all parties involved in surrogacy arrangements. These frameworks could include guidelines for screening and selecting surrogate mothers, establishing fair compensation for surrogate mothers, ensuring informed consent, and clarifying parentage and citizenship issues. However, the development of such legal frameworks is a complex process that requires careful consideration of cultural, ethical, and social factors.
In conclusion, surrogacy in Nigeria is a complex and evolving practice that raises numerous legal, ethical, and social issues. The absence of clear legal regulations leaves surrogacy arrangements vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and can result in challenges related to parentage, citizenship, and social attitudes. Efforts to regulate surrogacy in Nigeria have been made, but the development of comprehensive legal frameworks requires careful consideration of cultural, ethical, and social factors. It is important for policymakers, healthcare professionals, and other stakeholders to engage in open and inclusive discussions to address the challenges and risks associated with surrogacy, and to ensure the protection of the rights and interests of all parties involved.