June 12, 2024

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Lagos Assembly to Accommodate Experts’ Views On Human Fertilisation And Surrogacy Regulatory Bill

3 min read

Mojisola Lawal

Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa

Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Health, Hon. Shokunle Hakeem, said laws regulating human fertilization and surrogacy procedure and practice in the state have been long overdue.


The laws, according to the lawmaker, are necessary considering the controversies and barrage of litigations associated with human fertilization and surrogacy-related matters in the state.


Shokunle while speaking at the public hearing on the proposed Human Fertilisation and Surrogacy Regulatory Bill before the House assured the stakeholders in the State Health sector that their observations and opinions would be accommodated in the bill.
He said, “I must sincerely confess here today that the proposed law is long overdue in our system considering the series of controversies and litigations associated with human fertilization and surrogacy-related matters in our society.


“Let me assure you today that I have no doubt in my mind that this bill under consideration if eventually passed into law would provide a legal framework to regulate the procedure and practice of surrogacy, monitor the procurement, processing, storage, distribution, use of gametes and embryos in the state to prohibit commercial exploitation and secondly, the proposed law would also ensure that the best interest and right of any child born out of surrogacy are protected in accordance with the provision of Child’s Right Law of Lagos State.”
Speaking at the public hearing, Society of Fertility Reproductive Health demanded for the inclusion of its members in the drafting of the bill.


Secretary of the association, Professor Oladapo Ashiru, lamented non-inclusion of experts’ opinions in the proposed bill.


He said, “The terminology used in the bill is wrong. We used Assisted Reproductive Technology. I feel sad that the bill was drafted without the input of the Society of Fertility Reproductive Health Experts. The bill cannot stand the test of time if passed into law. We have a whole document on Assisted Reproductive Technology, (ART). The committee should look at what exists in the state and improve on it. The present law, in its present form l, should be stepped down.”
Speaking on the significance of the bill, Mrs Toyin Ogunmade, who got twins through surrogacy, said if passed into law, the bill will prevent human trafficking and baby factory.


She said, “I had to contract a surrogate mother because I couldn’t conceive a child because I had fibroid. At that time, nobody wanted to do surrogacy for me and there was no way I could get a family member or friend to do it.


I waited for 12 to 13 years. I went to India and an Indian helped me to carry my twins, who look so much like me. They are not Indians and they still have a relationship with their surrogate mother.


I have been helping people to reduce stigmatization. It is not anybody’s choice to go through surrogacy. I can have a child; I only had a problem with my health. The bill will cause more damage than good. The bill would promote what we are trying to avoid such as trafficking or baby factory. We are ready to partner with you. I have spoken about it and even wrote a book about it.”
Former president of the Society, Dr Faye Iketubosin, said the society has been self-regulating itself.


He said, “I worked with a committee that worked on the practice of ART in Lagos State. We worked for four years to generate a document on ART in the state. We have been self-regulating. There is something to amend on almost every page. A committee involving the practitioners and stakeholders should come together and work on the bill. Let us enact the right law.”

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