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Increasing numbers of single people and gay couples are recognising their needs to procreate and seeking appropriate options to father a child. This is as a result of a number of influencing factors directing the demand for gay parenting.
There is more awareness of artificial means to assist people and an increasing acceptance of gay parenting. New legislation was promulgated in 2010 determining the rights during a surrogate program attracting people to partake in these processes.
So how exactly does it work and who are the people embarking on surrogacy egg donor programs?
In the last couple of years, several people have come forward explaining their feelings and views. Single men have either not yet found the right partner or strongly want to become a dad at this stage in their lives. They often describe themselves as financially secure and emotionally available to give of themselves to another. They have a driving passion to have a child of the same genetic origin as themselves, some one who is really of themselves and part of them. Single men wanting to become fathers do not want to wait until they meet their mate, they have enough to give at this point and want to be at this stage of their lives with their child.
For couples, they also want to share part of themselves and feel that being in a committed relationship; they have the infrastructure, means and capacity to embark on such a journey.
A journey to become a father through an artificial means is one fraught with emotions of hope, excitement, love, joy and anxiety, so not for the faint hearted.
Men have the sperm, so need a womb and an egg to conceive. The sourcing of these happens simultaneously.
Surrogacy is governed by several processes in South Africa and this process is guided supoported and facilitated by a pro bono service to support commissioning parents through the process. baby2mom is a third party who provides highly sought after assistance in this regard, including the introduction of potential surrogates to commissioning parents, the support in terms of matters to discuss to reach an amicable surrogacy agreement. Upon a meeting of minds between surrogate and commissioning parent(s), necessary documentation is required to support the contractual aspects. An extensive list of required documentation is provided and facilitated by surrogacy attorneys.
The pack of surrogacy documentation and surrogate contract is presented to South African High Courts. Whilst this may sound daunting, the necessary support provided results in the process as a tried and tested toolkit with guidelines and a step by step directed process. People often ask how quickly this process happens and the reality is that commissioning parents dictate the pace. It is a matter of how quickly appointments are scheduled, how promptly documentation is obtained and the speed at which a commissioning parent really wanted to proceed. Whilst surrogates come forward on a continuous basis, there is typically no waiting period for a surrogate to be recommended to a commissioning parent.
During the process of the High Court approval of the contract and the gathering of necessary surrogacy documents, potential dads proceed to firm the egg donor aspect - the other half of the genetic contribution to their child.
Aspects to consider in an egg donor differ from the surrogate. Egg donors contribute genetically, so typically physical traits and aspects that are viewed to be hereditary are considered. The physical traits of a surrogate do not in any way influence the appearance of the child. After an extensive review of egg donor profiles - looking at medical background, family history, social information, physical traits, philosophical views, professional information and more, commissioning dads can identify to which egg donors they are drawn.
Egg donation in South Africa is anonymous and confidential, so commission fathers do not have a personal relationship with their egg donor (as they do with a surrogate). This legality protects both parties so that egg donors do not have further commitments and there are no loose ends with a third party holding uncertain rights. The benefit of this is that parent(s) to be can select the traits required of their egg donor without actually having her in their life.
The legality aspect on surrogacy is that once the High Court approves the surrogacy contract, all rights and responsibilities for the child are with the commissioning dad and not the surrogate mother. Again, this provides assurance that the result is as intended. Regardless of emotions, neither party has the option to withdraw of have a change of heart. So the court order essentially means that the surrogate mother cannot claim any rights to the child and similarly the commissioning dad(s) are obliged to assume this right and responsibility.
So South Africa is ideally set up to offer gay parenting solutions. baby2mom Egg Donation and Surrogacy Agency has been guiding and assisting gay couples to come parents for years and works closely with reputable associations who are involved in this process as well as attorneys who specialise in matters of surrogacy. More details on www.baby2mom.co.za or contact the author Jenny Currie