High court seals surrogacy deal

2011-08-27 00:00

THE high court in Pietermaritzburg has paved the way for a Durban woman to give her best friend and her husband their hearts’ desire — a child of their own.

Judge Achmat Jappie this week confirmed a surrogacy agreement between the two women — both in their forties — and their respective spouses, who may not be identified in terms of the Children’s Act for the protection of the baby.

It was agreed that the surrogate mother would be artificially fertilised with gametes obtained from the intended parents, so the baby will in fact be their biological child.

The woman wanting a baby and the proposed surrogate mother have been close friends since childhood and are related through marriage, court papers said.

Appeared for the parties, Pietermaritzburg advocate Chris Snyman, instructed by Pretorious Attorneys, said the surrogacy agreement was the second to come before the high court in Pietermaritzburg to date.

Snyman previously acted for a northern KwaZulu-Natal couple who entered into a similar agreement.

The soon-to-be mother of the surrogate baby is divorced with two children from a previous marriage, said a clinical psychologist’s report.

She and her present husband — a businessman — were married 14 months ago and had planned to have a child of their own as he has no biological children.

Shortly before the wedding the woman underwent a partial hysterectomy for medical reasons and can no longer give birth.

The couple were able to freeze two of her embryos, prompting them to pursue the idea of a surrogate.

The psychologist said neither is keen to use donor eggs as well as a surrogate.

She said the surrogate mother has “purely altruistic motivations”.

The intended mother has known the surrogate for almost 35 years, and was a bridesmaid at her wedding.

The women and their spouses also share an interest in rugby and are ardent Sharks fans, meeting again at a rugby match after their paths had not crossed for a while.

The surrogate had previously considered doing a surrogacy for a relative, but that couple wanted to use her eggs and she “could not get her head around giving away a baby born of her own gametes”.

She never thought about doing a surrogacy again till her friend mentioned her needs, the report said.

The report said, “She knows the baby will be well taken care of and has peace of mind about this.

“Furthermore, she loves being pregnant as she feels special.”

The report said the surrogate understands the baby is “not hers”, but said she would feel curious about how it looked and behaved.

“If she were doing this for a stranger she would struggle more as she would never have access to the child and would never know how it is doing.

“By helping a friend she will know the baby is taken care of and the transition will be more gradual than simply whipping the baby away.”

The surrogate and her husband of more than 20 years, who fully supports her decision, have two teenaged children of their own.

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