The House of Representatives (HoR) has resolved to investigate the rising cases of unethical and exploitative practices in egg procurement and surrogacy by fertility hospitals and clinics across the country.
The resolution of the House was sequel to the review of a motion on the “Need to Curb the Unethical Practices and Abuse Associated with Assisted Reproductive Health Technology in Nigeria”, brought by Hon. Babajimi Benson (APC Lagos).
It will be recalled that in August 2023, BONews published a three-part series that documented unethical practices in fertility clinics and how the absence of substantial legislation has fostered the abuse of young women who are engaged as oocyte donors and surrogate mothers.
Hon. Benson in his motion noted that the utilization of Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) and referrals to fertility centres has witnessed a notable surge in Nigeria, especially since the advent of the new millennium.
He also explained that the fertility industry has emerged as a thriving industry estimated to be worth one billion dollars, with private and public hospitals across the country engaged in the practice
Hon. Benson stated that the practice is providing an alternative avenue for establishing pregnancies and parenthood.
He also said that the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedure entails surgical extraction of eggs from a woman’s ovaries fusion with sperm in laboratory settings and subsequent reintegration into the donor’s body or transfer to a woman or storage in an egg bank.
Hon Benson is worried that women undergo surgical egg retrieval, relinquishing control over the eggs obtained between N100,000 to N150,000 per retrieval, with five to six eggs extracted per month.
“Also worried about the widespread practice of terming this process as “donation,” while in reality, desperate women of childbearing age are coerced through targeted marketing to sell their eggs with potentially adverse effects on their future reproductive health and overall well-being.”
Adopting the motion in the House, members raised alarm by the fact that fertility centres have capitalized on the absence of a suitable regulatory framework to exploit providers/donors and potentially engage in the trade of donated eggs.
“Cognizant that if this trend is not urgently checked, it will lead to an increase in cases of infertility and cancer infections among young donors and surrogates as well as promoting exploitative practices.”
To this end, the House mandated the Committee on Health Institutions to investigate cases of unethical and exploitative practices in egg procurement and surrogacy by fertility hospitals and clinics.
The Committee is to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
Source: Voice of Nigeria