With a high success rate, surrogacy is fast becoming an attractive assisted reproductive technique in countries of the world.

And it seems to have been accepted as an option even by some Nigerian couples.

The CEO of Meet Surrogate Mothers, Olaronke Thaddeus started an online surrogacy platform in 2015 for people to connect surrogate mothers.

Her platform connects surrogate mothers, egg donors, sperm donors, surrogacy lawyers, agencies and fertility clinics.

She explains this and more in this chat with An24.net reporter, Ganiyat Ganiyu.

What does surrogacy entail?

Surrogacy comes from the Latin word “subrogare”, meaning to substitute. It is a method of assisted reproduction where intended parents work with a gestational surrogate who will carry and care for their baby(ies) until birth.

What do you do at Surrogate Mothers Agency?

Our service at Meet Surrogate Mothers is to provide a surrogate mother, we manage the surrogate mother from inception till the end, such that the intending mother does not need to know who carrier is. We take care of the fertility process and management to ensure that everything goes on well.

How does it work?

It starts with the intending parents, if we’ll be using their eggs and sperms. We schedule an appointment for them to come to the hospital for evaluation then we match them immediately with surrogate mothers and commence treatment.

The surrogate mothers would have been screened and deemed fit to carry a baby. The matched surrogate mum’s womb would be prepared towards receiving the embryo.

What is the success rate?

At meet surrogate mothers agency, four out of five of our treatments works. Give and take, we have had 80% successful surrogates.

There is no substantial law supporting Surrogacy in Nigeria. Within which context does your organisation operate?

The fact that there is no Surrogacy law in Nigeria doesn’t make it an illegal business. It is a recognised outfit by fertility experts in Nigeria. We are registered Surrogacy company with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC. We also work under fertility hospitals.

Since you have been practicing, how would you describe the acceptance of surrogacy in Nigeria?

A lot of couples are embracing surrogacy. Gone are the days when people used to dwell so much on what other people believe. If surrogacy is the option that works for you, why not? We have a lot of intending parents visiting our agency. There is nothing to be ashamed of, you don’t owe anybody any explanation.

Are there types of surrogates?

There are two types of surrogacy globally. We have the gestational and traditional surrogacy. The difference is simple: in traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s eggs are used, making her the biological mother of the child she carries while in gestational surrogacy, the surrogate has no biological link to the baby.

In our agency, we practise gestational surrogacy because we don’t want the surrogate mothers to be genetically tied to the baby. She’s just the carrier.

What are the criteria for surrogate mothers?

In our agency, you must be between the age of 25 to 38. You must have had children before. You must also reside in Lagos because the management aspect of surrogacy is key.

Are there risks involved?

For every business there are risks but what is important is mitigating the risks. For instance, in the past, intending parents used to be scared that what if the carrier runs away with their baby but we have a legal law that binds the surrogate mothers to us.

Sometimes, we might have cases where the carrier had a premature birth or miscarriage and that could also happen if they are the one carrying the child. Those are the risk you might want to talk about, every risk that affected pregnancy also applies to them.

How soon after having a baby can a surrogate mum have another child?

It is advisable that a surrogate mother wait for two years so her body can recuperate.

Do you get volunteers surrogate mothers?

Yes people do, we do get a lot of volunteer surrogate mothers in our agency.

Many people believe that surrogate mum accept the offer because of the money involved, how true is this?

Surrogacy is priceless. The truth is no amount of money any intending parent can pay is worth the sacrifice. They might have second reason to do it, but the fact that they come forward in the first place only means they have a good heart. This has overridden other intentions.

We respect them a lot, it takes someone with a good heart to do it. It is not about the money.

How affordable is surrogacy in Nigeria?

Affordable to you might be different from someone else. Surrogacy has other component, you may need to do IVF. The fee covers the inception process, management, antenatal etc.

How do you deal with the emotional aspect of the carrier?

It’s a contract. The babies are taken immediately from the surrogate mothers after birth and handed over to the parents for bonding. Most times, surrogate mother don’t get to see the child.

How does the delivery process work?

Surrogate mothers go through cesarean section during delivery to avoid risks. The process of getting surrogate pregnancy is through IVF and IVF pregnancy comes with its own risk. Nobody wants to gamble with the delivery process.

How many times can one person do surrogate?

In our agency, we only advise a surrogate mother to do it once. We have seen cases where a surrogate mother signify interest for another session but we don’t allow such.

Have there been cases where a surrogate mother decided to keep the baby?

No, that can never happen. A contract already stated the terms and conditions.

Does one have to have problems with child bearing before going for the surrogate option?

You don’t have to be barren before using a surrogate mother. Being healthy is a state of the mind, you have to look at the psychological readiness before having a child.

If you see that you are not psychologically ready to carry a pregnancy then you can adopt surrogacy.