An Appraisal of Challenges Affecting the Practice of Surrogacy in Nigeria


In Nigeria, the value placed on children cannot be over emphasized as this is viewed as a sign of fertility and security in marriage. Infertility or childlessness is therefore viewed as an anomaly and the couples could go to any length just to have children. Surrogacy as a variant of ART has offered such couples hope. This study analysed the concept of surrogacy in Nigeria by examining the nature of surrogacy, the ethical and legal challenges affecting it, as well as the legal regime for the regulation in Nigeria. This was with the view to establishing that Nigeria currently has no sufficient legal regime for the practice of surrogacy and that the absence of any regulatory policy already poses danger to the society. The study revealed that Nigeria has no specific statute in place to regulate surrogacy in as much as surrogacy is being practiced widely. The practitioners rely on the guidelines of the British Human and Fertilisation Embryology Act, 1990 and there is usually a contractual agreement between the parties to the surrogate arrangement. The study revealed that a lot of couples afflicted by infertility resort to it as it affords them the opportunity to have children genetically related to them; it is regarded as the best option for single parents, those with medical conditions and for others who for the sake of convenience would rather not go through the rigors of pregnancy and its attendant challenges though the practice is still not widely accepted. There is a proposed ART Bill that has been pending at the Senate since 2016 which if passed into law would bring a lot of relief to all parties involved as well as the society at large. This study therefore concluded that surrogacy needs to be regulated in Nigeria as the frontiers of reproductive technology seems to be advancing as is seen in other jurisdictions. It therefore recommended that the proposed Art Bill be promulgated to effectively regulate the practice of surrogacy in Nigeria and establish institutional framework to accredit and license practitioners and facilities.