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Lawyer claim sey surrogacy dey illegal for Naija. Na true?

Lawyer claim sey surrogacy dey illegal for Naija. Na true?
May 09
11:33 2024

Sonnie Ekwowusi, one human rights lawyer, tok sey surrogacy for Nigeria na criminal offence wey dey punishable by di law.

Ekwowusi make di claim on April 22 as im dey tok for Morning Show, one programme for Arise TV.

Di human rights lawyer tok sey surrogacy no dey accepted for Naija since di surrogate dey “rent her womb” come dash di pikin out. Im still come tok sey surrogacy na di greatest violation of woman dignity and identity.

“First of all, surrogacy dey against natural law and Nigeria law. Plenti pipu no know sey surrogacy dey illegal for Nigeria,” na so im tok.


“Surrogacy simply mean sey pesin dey mix eggs and sperm wey dem comot before, put am inside woman womb. Di real name na womb renting, and di woman go carry di pikin for nine months, deliver di pikin, come give am to di pesin wey want am.

“Di same woman go still go run am for anoda woman, at di end of di day, di woman don turn object. Na why dem tok sey surrogacy na di greatest violation of human dignity and di identity of a woman.”

Ekwowusi quote section 30, sub-section (1) of di Child Rights Act to support im claim.


Section 3 of di same act give punishment of 10 years imprisonment for pipu wey violate subsection (1).

“No pesin fit buy, sell, rent, comot or hold pikin as transaction,” na so di section tok.

“Pesin wey break di provision of subsection (1) of dis section don commit offence and dey liable to enter prison for 10 years.”

Im folo cite section 50 of di National Health Act wey forbid assisted reproductive technology.


“Pesin no fit manipulate any genetic material, including genetic material of human gametes, zygotes or embryos; or engage in any activity including nuclear transfer or embryo splitting for di purpose of di cloning of human being; import or export human zygotes or embryos,” na so di section tok.

“Pesin wey break di provision of dis section don commit offence and dey liable to face imprisonment for minimum of five years with no option of fine.”

As im make di remarks, some Nigerians don express different opinions on wetin di law tok about surrogacy for di kontri.



Surrogacy na process wen woman (surrogate) go carry pikin, come born am for couple or individual.

Dem go give di surrogate moda belle through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) — one medical procedure wey dem go comot woman eggs from her ovary come mix dem with sperm to form embryos.

Surrogacy na either gestational or traditional. E dey gestational wen dem create di embryo by using di sperm from di future fada (or sperm donor) and di egg of di biological moda(or egg donor). Dem go come plant am inside di uterus of di surrogate, wey go carry di pikin reach nine months. 

Traditional surrogacy na wen dem use di sperm of di intended father to fertilise di surrogate egg. Di surrogate moda go come carry di pregnancy reach full term, deliver am for di parents.

Sometimes, surrogacy fit dey commercial or altruistic. E dey commercial wen dem pay di surrogate to carry and born di pikin while altruistic surrogacy na usually wen di surrogate no receive any financial compensation for di pregnancy.

For surrogacy to hapun, legal contract dey necessary just like for adoption process where dem go pay federal govment legal fees.


Becos of di complex nature around surrogacy, kontris neva too chuk mouth for di mata. Even for Nigeria, surrogacy no get any legal framework wey dey regulate am.

In 2016, dem bin present one bill to regulate assisted reproductive technology (ART) to di national assembly but dem no pass am into law. Lagos, howeva, launch one guideline for assisted reproductive technology (ART), di closest law to surrogacy.

ART na fertility treatment wey include artificial insemination involving surgery to remove eggs from woman ovaries, combine dem with sperm for lab. Di eggs go come dey returned to di woman body or dem go donate am give anoda woman.

While accurate informate no dey on how much surrogacy dey hapun for Nigeria, evidence dey to show sey dem dey run am.

Wetin remain to clarify na if di absence of legal framework mean sey di tin dey illegal.


To check Ekwowusi claim and to confam if surrogacy dey prohibited for Nigeria, TheCable tok with somel legal practitioners to hear dia take for di subject.

Henry Akanwa, one lawyer, tok sey surrogacy fit dey classified as crime wen dem pay di surrogate to born di pikin, sey na dat time dem fit tok sey “child trafficking”.

“Surrogacy no be crime unless you dey pay di moda to born di pikin come buy am later. That one fit dey classified as child trafficking,” na so Akanwa said.

“Wen pesin born pikin out of wedlock and wan give di child away, any couple fit decide sey dem wan adopt di pikin and dem go need go through di adoption process wey di law tok or by practice and procedural rules wey dey guide adoption. To relate dis with surrogacy, di mama wey decide give di pikin away fit be surrogate becos she bin get pikin but decide give am away.”

Olu Daramola, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), tok sey surrogacy no dey illegal as e not get any legal framework.

Im tok sey na only wetin di law sey na offence dey illegal. 

“No law dey concerning surrogacy for Nigeria. Difference dey between making something outrightly illegal and to no make provision for am. For now, e no get any law wey tok sey you fit or you no fit do am,” na so Daramola tell TheCable.

“Dat one na different provision (referring to di child trafficking law), if you look di Child’s Rights Act, e dey meant to protect children wey dem neva born. Surrogacy no be adoption, na wen pesin no fit born get pesin wey go help them.”

Daramola tok sey to end di constant confusion around surrogacy, di govment must chuk mouth.

“I think sey di way forward na for surrogacy to dey recognised and checked becos dem make di law for man, no be di oda way round. Di law must take note of technological advancement. Anytin wey be crime na wetin di law don outrightly forbid,” na so im tok.

Also, Olutumbi Babayomi, one family lawyer, tok sey dem no fit cari pesin go court sey im break “law wey no exist”.

“As of today, we not get any legal provision wey dey cover surrogacy. If dem catch anyone, dem no fit charge he/she for breaking law wey no exist,” na so Babayomi tok.

“One of di problems wey wey get for Nigeria no be to make laws, na to keep dem. Before dem tok sey sometin dey illegal, e mean sey na criminal offence, but we no get any law wey dey criminalise surrogacy.”

Babayomi add sey to make surrogacy legal for Nigeria go dey too premature becos e still get many complications.

Im tok sey if surrogacy mata enta court, dem no go treat am as surrogacy but as child trafficking.

“If dem charge am as criminal offence, e no go dey charged as surrogacy but as crime under di Child Rights Act. So, dat kain case go enta court as trafficking or abuse of children,” na so im add.

“Because dem pay di surrogate to born pikin, e fall within di legal framework wey illegalise any exchange of children. For di many complications wey dey surround surrogacy, I think sey time neva reach to legalise surrogacy.”

Awa Kalu, senior advocate of Nigerian (SAN), folo confam sey legal vacuum dey regarding di rights and responsibilities of di parties wey dey involved in surrogacy arrangements.

Im tok sey both di Child Rights Act and di National Health Act — wey Ekwowusi quote— no prohibit surrogacy.

“While di National Health Act prohibits di manipulation of embryos, e dey necessary to differentiate between wen pesin dey manipulate anoda pesin for reasons wey no pure and assisted reproduction techniques wey dem dey use for surrogacy. Di act’s provision dey likely target activities like genetic engineering rather than di legitimate practice of surrogacy,” na so Kalu tok.

“Di underlying purpose for why dem pass di National Health Act for Nigeria na to provide legal framework for di regulation and development of di health sector for di kontri. Di act dey aim to improve di quality, accessibility, and affordability of healthcare services for all Nigerians and upon careful study and overview, no dey prohibit surrogacy in any way.

“Similarly, di Child Rights Act prohibit di buying and selling of children, but di definition of ‘child’ within di act defines pikin as ‘pesin’ under 18 years, e no include embryos. According to di Criminal Code, pikin na pesin wey dem born and wey comot from im mama womb. Hence, di act prohibition fit no extend to embryos wey dem used for surrogacy arrangements.”

Surrogacy no get any legal framework for Nigeria. Di National Health Act and di Child Health Act no prohibit surrogacy for Nigeria.

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