SA tightens rules on foreign adoptions

2011-10-13 10:18
Johannesburg - In the wake of Madonna's adoptions in nearby Malawi, and a commercial surrogacy boom in India, South Africa is laying out stricter rules for foreigners looking to make families here.

Last month a court in Pretoria set out guidelines for foreigners looking to hire a surrogate mother in South Africa. In 2010, a new child welfare law made it tougher for foreigners to adopt.

The overall message is that children born in South Africa are better off in their own country, and foreigners need to show a commitment to living here if they want to use South Africans to help them make a family.

In the case last month, a Dutch and Danish couple won permission to use a surrogate. In the ruling, the court in Pretoria laid out guidelines that will now direct how future cases will be resolved.

Surrogacy


Surrogacy has been legal in South Africa since 2006, and the Constitution guarantees equal protection for gays, which courts have routinely cited in allowing same-sex couples to adopt or use surrogates.

For foreigners, the ruling essentially means that they must intend to stay in South Africa long-term. The couple involved in the case intends to settle here permanently, the court ruling said.

"If you are a French person or a foreigner here only for six months, it is not going to work, unless you live in South Africa for an indefinite period," said Anthony William, the attorney who represented the couple.

"This judgement is important because it sets the parameters and the guidelines."

South African law specifically prohibits commercial surrogacy. The court cast a wary eye on India, where it was allowed in 2002, creating an "assisted reproductive" industry that in 2008 was valued at $450m (R3.5bn) a year.

This has attracted families from wealthier countries who hire Indian surrogates for far less than the process would cost in their home nations - something South Africa is keen to avoid.

"Most countries prohibit commercial surrogacy, with India being the prominent exception," the ruling said.

The court warned that "particularly in countries such as ours with deep socio-economic disparities and prevalence of poverty, that the possibility of abuse of underprivileged women is a real and ever-present danger".

Every surrogacy agreement in South Africa requires approval from a court that must find the arrangement was reached "for altruistic rather than commercial reasons", the court said.

Surrogate mothers can only receive money to pay for expenses related to the pregnancy, such as health insurance or maternity clothes, said Jennifer Currie, founder of the Baby-2 Mom agency, which specialises in egg donations.

Adoptions


The rules have also been tightened for foreigners seeking to adopt.

Since a new child welfare law was passed last year, foreigners are required to live in South Africa for five years before they can adopt - even though South Africa has 1.9 million Aids orphans.

Most of those children are absorbed into extended families or communities and are not housed in institutions. Only about 600 are considered "legally adoptable", with just 200 children legally adopted last year, according to official figures.

The new law was drafted as Madonna was adopting her second child in Malawi, stirring controversy about wealthy foreigners taking home African children.

South Africa wants children to have a relationship "with their familiar cultural, physical and extended family environs before looking to adoption within the country or outside the country," said Seamus Mac Roibin, a child protection specialist for Unicef, the UN children's agency.

- SAPA
Read more on:    malawi  |  hiv aids
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
47 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.