Ugandan parliament urged on international surrogacy ethical standards

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Ugandan parliament urged on international surrogacy ethical standards
Lisa Stark Hughes.

The Parliamentary Committee on Health has appreciated the wonderful proposals to the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill presented by the Lisa Stark Hughes an American expert in the field.

Lisa, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gestational Surrogate Moms Corp (GSMoms) appeared before the health committee that is currently processing the private members bill presented by Tororo Woman Member of Parliament, Sarah Opendi.

Lisa, a Board Member and Education Chair for the Society for Ethics in Egg Donation and Surrogacy (SEEDS), highlighted a number of amendments that would add protections to the bill and bring the bill up to ethical standards.

She suggested that as Uganda embarks on regulating surrogacy, the country should be mindful of protecting the rights of women,  especially the surrogate mothers, who may be easily exploited if protective measures are not put in into the law.

Some of her suggested additions were that surrogates be required to have had a successful full term pregnancy and delivery prior to becoming a surrogate.

She also suggested that surrogates and intended parents are each represented by an attorney and that a regulatory committee that would license and monitor agencies and other professionals should also be added.

“One in six adults globally struggles with infertility, most clients are married couples and single women. Uganda is 60% women and single women can also struggle with the ability to have a baby. Access to reproductive options allows them to follow their religious views or address their medical issue and still become a mother,” Lisa noted while appealing to the committee to allow for singles to also access surrogacy services.

She  added that if Uganda chooses to make a comprehensive law putting into consideration intended parents from other countries, the country will benefit socially and economically and this will do much in reducing labour externalization as women will stay home as well as earn a living.

“The global surrogacy market size was worth around 13.27 billion US Dollars in 2022 and is predicted to grow to around 61.45 Billion US Dollars by 2030 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of roughly 21.46% according to internationally recognized Zion Market Research Company,” Lisa said.

She highlighted the need to allow for agencies and other players to participate in aiding and facilitating the process if exploitation and abuse of women is to be avoided.

Lisa was appreciated by the legislators on the committee who praised her for coming up with such ideas that will best shape the bill to ensure women are protected.

“We appreciate you for sparing time and making such wonderful submissions. We shall review the inputs and then report to the house,” said the committee deputy chairperson,Dr. Samuel Opio while chairing the session.

Lisa later appreciated President Museveni upon his commitment to the empowerment of women unlike leaders of other countries including the US and UK.

“I am in awe of the president’s dedication to the representation and empowerment of Ugandan women. An acknowledgment that women’s health is a women’s issue and that the women parliamentarians like the Honorable Sarah Opendi and others, can present such an important bill,” Lisa noted.

, “In many other countries, including my own America, and the UK, women do not have anyone dedicated to address and speak for women’s issues in government, and then the narrative and resistance from men can derail important women’s issues.”

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