Building a Family: Understanding Surrogacy in South Africa

By 2nd May 2024Family Law
surrogacy laws south africa

The traditional path to parenthood isn’t for everyone. Thankfully, modern advancements offer alternative ways to build a family, and surrogacy is one option. But what are the legal guidelines in South Africa?

Surrogacy: Not Just for Fairytales

Forget the “boy meets girl, has kids” ideal. Surrogacy allows someone to have a child through another woman (the surrogate) who carries the pregnancy and then hands the baby over to be raised by the intended parents (commissioning parents).

Surrogacy in South Africa: What You Need to Know

Surrogacy is legal in South Africa but with a twist. Unlike some countries, it’s only allowed when someone has a permanent medical condition preventing them from giving birth. Simply wanting a child through surrogacy isn’t enough.

The Rules of the Game: Stringent Laws

Strict regulations govern surrogacy, outlined in Chapter 19 of the Children’s Act (Act 38 of 2005). Here’s a breakdown of the key points for both commissioning parents and the surrogate mother:

  • Court Approval is Essential: A written agreement between both parties needs to be approved by the High Court before insemination.
  • Spousal Consent Matters: If either party is married or in a committed relationship, their partner’s consent is mandatory.
  • Biological Connection: At least one commissioning parent must be the child’s biological parent.
  • Compensation? Not Quite: Payment (cash or gifts) to the surrogate mother is prohibited. However, reimbursement for medical expenses and income loss during pregnancy is allowed.

Following These Rules Leads to Legal Parenthood:

If all the above conditions are met, the child born through surrogacy is legally considered the commissioning parents’ child from birth. The surrogate mother and her family have no legal rights or obligations towards the child.

Thinking About Surrogacy? We Can Help!

If you’re considering surrogacy or need help with a surrogacy agreement, contact us. Our team can guide you through the legal process and ensure a smooth journey towards building your family.

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