The basic salary of a gestational mother in Uganda ranges from 20 to 35 million shillings depending on the size of the couple’s wallet, Dr. Joseph Nsenga has revealed.
The gynaecologist, attached to Bethany Women’s Hospital in Luzira, made the revelations during an interview with RX Radio’s Olive Monica Najjuma on the Brunch Talk Show.
He explained surrogacy as a situation where a mother willingly decides to carry a pregnancy for another couple who are unable to conceive if all medical procedures available have failed.
These issues may be natural causes such as uterus abnormalities, hysterectomy or cases of hypertension.
Luckily, a number of women are willing to be surrogate mothers in Uganda. The hospital acts as a go between between the couple and surrogate mother. He explained that the gestational mother who acts as a carrier never meets the couple to avoid problems that may arise later such as the surrogate mum claiming the child.
Nsenga went on to explain that those eligible have to be mothers with certain credentials including a clear medical history before they are taken up for surrogacy.
“Anyone between the age of 25 and 35 that has previously conceived, has been screened, tested to have no infections with a clean womb and no fibroids is capable of being a gestational carrier. And usually the amount is negotiated between the parents and the surrogate.”
Whereas there have been assertions that the hospitals negotiate with the couple and decide the amount to give the surrogate, the Doctor dismissed this as untrue because the expenses involved with different surrogates differ.
“If somebody is going to be your carrier, you have to provide them with decent accommodation, keep them fed, shopping for their clothes, security and monthly remunerations. At the end of the 9 months, there is a token of appreciation so the amount varies and each surrogate makes their own figure. The basic amount ranges from 20 to 35 million depending on what the parents-to-be can afford.”
Excited about the amount one can make, Olive being a mother of three that has undergone two caesarean sections asked if she would qualify. Sadly, she was told that she couldn’t.
“Anyone with two scars does not qualify because they wouldn’t be a good candidate. The person eligible would preferably have had one scar but not two or three. We wouldn't want a person to put their lives at risk of danger,” he said.
“You also have to be a mother and be able to prove that you've had a successful pregnancy previously without any complications.”
Nsenga went on to explain that to prevent instances of the surrogates escaping with the babies, the mothers are provided with accomodation and their movements are supervised. “We make sure their lives are comfortable and that they don’t engage in risky behaviour such as sexual intercourse that may put them at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases that may affect the baby,” he said.
According to Dr. Nsenga, the gestational mothers are provided with counselling sessions throughout their journey to purely understand and accept the fact the child does not belong to them, something which must be consented to before taking up the job.
Last year, the Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi introduced the Surrogacy Bill which is to regulate surrogacy, protection of surrogate mothers and children born out of surrogacy.
He acknowledged that the law will help hospitals carry out the process in a more legal manner to assist them to regulate, control payments and settle disputes that may arise. “The process is now solely controlled as an agreement between the hospital and the private lawyers that are involved,” he concluded.
Brunch Talk is hosted by Olive Najjuma Monica every Saturday from Midday to 1pm on RX Radio.