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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Surrogate mothers are not ‘baby factories’ says former Nigerian official

Calling surrogate mothers ‘baby factories’ and cracking down on the issue only stigmatizes parents, says Reno Omokri, former Special Assistant to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media

A former aide to Nigerian ex-President Goodluck Jonathan is speaking out against stigmatization of surrogate mothers in the country, saying the practice should be allowed by government.

Reno Omokri, who lives in California, is urging the Nigerian government to regulate the sector, where orphan women and girls are often impregnated against their will before their babies are sold – leading to the term ‘baby factories’.

While he admits there is a problem with the lack of regulation, Omokri suggests mothers who consent to surrogacy should be treated with dignity and respect.

‘This is the 21st Century not the 12th,’ he said. ‘If women wish to be surrogate mothers, government shouldn’t stigmatize them as a ‘Baby Factories’.

‘As long as these aren’t underaged girls, and as long as they consent without duress to be surrogate mothers, they have committed no crime.’

Omokri said surrogacy should remain a legitimate option for couples unable to have children – enabling the parents to know more about the family history and genetics of their unborn child than they would with anonymous adoptions.

‘Tens of thousands of surrogate children are born each year in the Americas and even more in Europe,’ he explained, writing in the Premium Times.

‘Anyone who has ever experienced childlessness either directly or indirectly through a relative, extended family or friend is likely to appreciate the role surrogate mothers play in bringing succor to such families.

‘To ostracize them and tag them ‘Baby Factories’ is most unfortunate indeed.’

While attitudes to surrogacy are slowly shifting in the country, Nigeria has a long way to go as far as LGBTI rights are concerned.

Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal, and can be punishable by 14 years in prison or death by stoning.


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