A Bill that will regulate surrogacy and fertility treatment in Uganda will soon be tabled before parliament after Tororo District Woman MP, Hon Sarah Opendi was granted leave to introduce it.
The Surrogacy and Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill will make legal provisions for surrogate mothers, prohibition of certain practices in connection with embryos and gametes as well as establishment of a committee under the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council to make provision for their function.
The Bill proposes remedies to regulate the environment for couples who are unable to have children owing to infertility, women who want to singularly mother a child as well as couples with issues with genetic make up to have children.
Hon Sarah Opendi said that one in every four couples in Uganda is affected by infertility while 10 to 15 per cent of couples cannot have children due to infertility.
“Biological advancements of surrogacy and fertility treatment have made it possible that any woman who desires to enjoy her God given heritage of child bearing can do so notwithstanding malformation of the womb, recurrent pregnancy loss or repeated In vitro fertilization (IVF) implantation failures,” she said.
Opendi said that there are many IVF clinics operating in Uganda and providing fertility care and surrogacy services, but with no regulation or government supervision to ensure quality service and promote ethical medical conduct.
She added that surrogacy and fertility treatment, albeit unregulated, was on the rise in the country and emphasised the need to regulate the practice in order to protect the parties involved as well as offer legal reprieve to couples battling with infertility problems.
“We need a law in place that not only regulates the donors but also the doctors and physicians involved in this. This will protect the donors as well as the children born out of these processes,” Opendi said.
Bukuya County MP, Hon Micheal Bukenya who seconded the motion said 50 per cent of men are experiencing challenges with infertility adding that there is need for treatment.
“There are more than 10 fertility treatment centres in the country which are private. Government is yet to operationalise its unit given that we provided money this financial year. There is regulation needed because this is a practice that involves third parties,” said Bukenya.
According to available literature, surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to bear a child for another person or persons, who will become the child’s parent(s) after birth.
People may seek a surrogacy arrangement when pregnancy is medically impossible, when pregnancy risks are too dangerous for the intended mother, or when a single man or a male couple wish to have a child. Surrogacy is considered one of many assisted reproductive technologies.