April 24, 2024

Surrogacy agencies move to Kenya 

Poor, unregulated – what more could you want?

The staff of Surrogacy Agency Kenya

Kenya is becoming a major surrogacy destination now that India and Thailand have banned overseas clients from engaging surrogate mothers.

According to The Australian, five babies born to Kenyan surrogates were granted Australian citizenship in the financial year to April 30. Three years ago, there were none. The United States is by far the preferred destination for Australians seeking babies, but for the same period, there were 61 from Ukraine and 17 from Georgia.

A number of clinics are advertising surrogacy services in Kenya on the internet. It is what the professionals call a “high-risk destination”. There are no laws governing surrogacy there and the climate is hostile. One site warns:

Please note Kenya is a homophobic nation, so if you are a gay couple, you and your partner will not be able to attend the hospital together. You will also get repeated questions about ‘Where is your wife/the mother?’ on discharge from hospital. Citizenship processes for Australians have proved to be lengthy.

Another site explains the proliferation of surrogacy services by referring to Kenya’s constitution:

The Kenyan constitution guarantees the right to form and be part of a family — going so far as to describe the family as the natural and fundamental unit of society and the necessary basis of social order. So it is not surprising that IVF and surrogacy in Kenya is widely accepted, while at the same time viewed skeptically by religious leaders.

Most of the clinics appear to be offshoots of Indian IVF clinics.

Surrogacy in Kenya is a lower-cost option (only US$45,000), but at least one American agency has pulled out because of the risks. “With restrictions appearing in southern and southeast Asia, several surrogacy agencies are offering low-cost options in Kenya and similar destinations,” Bill Houghton, of Sensible Surrogacy, told Business Today, a Kenyan magazine. “The lure of being able to have a baby ‘on the cheap’ is attracting desperate couples into what could be a dangerous situation.”

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge.

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