A sociological medico-legal investigation on surrogacy in Ekiti State Teaching Hospital, Ekiti State and Oyedele & Co, Abuja.
Alabi, Oluwatobi Joseph.
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Up until recently adoption is basically the only alternative to infertility, however with the advancement in medical technology, it is now possible to procreate through various channels in assisted reproductive technologies. It is noted that the development of surrogacy as an assisted reproductive technique has brought to fore contentious issues about the definition of motherhood, parenthood and the sacredness and cultural sanctity of the family system most especially in an African context. Suffix to say that surrogate arrangement flickers ethical, medical, psychological and socio-cultural concerns that needs to be examined, understood and addressed. This research is a sociological medico-legal investigation of surrogacy in Nigeria that investigates the medical, legal and cultural trepidations eminent in the practice and growth of surrogacy as an assisted reproductive technique through an explorative qualitative lens. The research sample are spread across three categories within the society which are: gynecologist, traditional birth attendant and legal professionals. The research interviewed 20 participants across these categories. The findings of the study revealed that, the growth of surrogacy within the Nigerian context has been hampered by socio-cultural, religious and traditional sentiments that has hitherto manifested itself in gender stereotypes, social stigmatization and prejudice towards fertility as well as the conceptualization of womanhood and family system. It is evident from the findings that the absence of legislation about surrogacy in Nigeria has given way to several vices such as baby farming and the commodification of women and children. The research discusses the medical concerns prioritizing the essence of surrogate practice; brings to fore the socio-cultural and religious narratives surrounding the practice; and, emphasizes the need for appropriate legislations to avoid exploitation, commodification of women and children and address the controversies around fertility treatment in Nigeria.