Most Ugandans are familiar only with the traditional way of bearing children and this is only through sexual intercourse that is characterised with a lot of intimacy and pleasure.
However, with the modernisation taking shape in the country and the advent of technology in a country that is fast impressing science, the status quo is headed for a change if a proposed legislation on regulating surrogacy sees the light of Parliament.
Parliament on Tuesday evening granted leave to Tororo District Woman MP Sarah Achieng Opendi to introduce a Private Member’s Bill titled; The Surrogacy and Assisted Production Technology Bill, 2021.
The Bill, which seeks to enact a law that will task the government to regulate the bearing of children without any bonking, is expected to be tabled before the end of the year if Opendi gets the necessary support from the Ministry of Finance with issuance of a Certificate of Financial Implication.
A surrogate is a woman who gets artificially inseminated with a male’s sperm and then carries the baby and delivers it for you and your partner to raise. But, the traditional surrogate, whose egg was fertilised, is the baby’s biological mother.
While moving the motion seeking leave of Parliament, Opendi told the House presided over by Deputy Speaker Anita Among that there are many couples in Uganda who have bonked endlessly but failed to bear a child hence a need to seek assisted production technology.
Opendi, a former State Minister for Health in charge of General Duties, revealed that with surrogacy taking shape in Uganda, there are several fertility clinics operating in the country without any form of regulation.
“There are so many clinics in the country that are offering these services without government supervision. Surrogacy remains unregulated. It should be noted that the freedom to procreate is a fundamental right for anyone aged 18 and above. So those facing challenges should be assisted,” Ms Opendi stated.
Justifying a motion that was seconded by Bukuya County MP Dr Michael Bukenya, a gynecologist and also a trained fertility specialist, Opendi said that the government would even operationalise the service at the Specialised Women Hospital, Kawempe on top of regulating the private clinics.
“This surrogacy service is being carried out here in the country currently. There are donors who donate their sperm and eggs but they stand a risk of such being used on their people without their consent. So, we need a law to regulate not only the donors but also the physicians who do this work,” she added.
When the presiding Speaker asked Opendi why she never moved this as a Minister when the Specialised Women Hospital was opened, the outspoken legislator revealed that there are challenges in the Ministry of Health because there are “movers” suggesting her efforts would have been frustrated then.
Seconding the motion, Dr Bukenya told the MPs that 50 percent of the infertility problem in homes is contributed by men who keep bonking their wives without enough power to push the sperms to the fallopian tubes where fertilisation takes place.
He revealed that there are already more than 10 fertility clinics assisting surrogate parents in the country but the challenge is they are not being regulated. Erute South MP Jonathan Odur took to the floor at this point to ask Dr Bukenya to declare his interest because he runs one of those fertility clinics in the country.
To show that the Bill may not be welcomed by advanced aged Ugandans who treat bonking as the only way of having a woman to conceive, 75 year-old Cecilia Ogwal voiced her concerns over the impending legislation.
The Dokolo District Woman MP quoting from Genesis Chapter two in the Bible said: “When you borrow an egg or sperm to produce a child, at the end of the day will you not have a problem in claiming that child?”
She suggested that while processing the Bill, Parliament will cause a traditional and religious crisis because they all bless marriages where children are born through bonking.
Nevertheless, Parliament granted Opendi leave to introduce the Bill after Among insisted that there was no need to debate the substance of the motion as MPs will have time to contribute during the Committee on Health after its first reading and also on the floor of the House at the second reading.
Speaking to Galaxy FM website on Wednesday morning, the flamboyant Opendi commended her colleagues for granting her leave saying the Bill will bring hope to many who want to bear children through surrogacy but were limited by lack of a supporting law.
“We don’t have statistics of those who are already having children through surrogacy because the practice is not regulated. Everyone is doing their own things and the only challenge is when someone has taken in their sperm and it is used on other people,” she said.
Opendi, who until June this year was the State Minister for Minerals, said she already has a draft of the Bill but declined to reveal the details because it takes a process to be tabled on the floor of Parliament.
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