If you are a Nigerian living in Nigeria, then you are probably aware that issues like surrogacy are typically very hush hush. People have their different reasons for keeping it this way, but one of such reasons, I suspect, is the cultural stigma associated with delayed fertility. It’s possible you are reading this and wondering: What exactly is involved in surrogacy? In a surrogate pregnancy, eggs from the woman who will carry the baby or from an egg donor are fertilized with sperm from a sperm donor to make an embryo. The embryo is implanted in the uterus of the surrogate mother, who carries the baby until birth.
My interest in this topic was piqued when a popular Nigerian actress, Iniobong Edo, recently welcomed her first child, a daughter, via a surrogate. After the news came out, the internet went agog. I was very fascinated to see different people in the Nigerian online community giving their hot takes about an issue they were not even overly familiar with. Ini’s story was also very interesting because she opted for a sperm donor because of a few fears she had. In her words,
“I opted for a donor is that it scares me so much when I see banter and controversies between a mother and a father over a baby in public forums or when I see the man insisting, he wants his child if things don’t work out between both parties.”
She also spoke about her issues with miscarriages in the past which were also one of her reasons for opting for surrogacy. I read through some of the comments and opinions about this, and while some people congratulated her, others were of the opinion that she shouldn’t have, and she should have gone for the normal route of childbirth that we are familiar with. In my opinion sha, such comments did not surprise me especially living in the kind of conservative society that I live in.
In General, Surrogacy is a unique topic, and most countries do not have a unified legal position on the subject. It may be argued that the sensitive nature of this treatment has influenced how it is perceived and tolerated in various civilizations. According to my research and findings, there is currently no legal framework regulating surrogacy in Nigeria; yet, the country has a system of arranged third-party reproduction in place. There are also several privately organized agencies in the country that engage in consensually arranged surrogacy, acting as a go-between for the surrogate mother and the commissioning parent. They provide the service of bringing parties together through the execution of a signed contract agreement. Of course, these entities are funded by fees paid by the parties concerned. “Meet Surrogate Mothers Agency Limited” is one such agency. This registered agency operates as an organization that handles surrogacy arrangements in Lagos, Nigeria. There are also similar others that operate in Abuja and other states within the country.
Women’s fertility issues are not popular and discussed as they should be. I’m not one to say what’s right and wrong in this case, especially since many people are coming from a legal and moral standpoint, but I believe that talking about it and educating ourselves on topics like this, especially as women, can go a long way toward helping people make informed choices and comments from a place of understanding.