Reproductive health laws due for review, say lobbies

Tuesday June 30 2020

mothers

Mothers waiting for treatment of their children in a hospital in Kigali, 2018. Photo | File  

KELLY RWAMAPERA
By KELLY RWAMAPERA
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Lobbyists in the health sector have called for enactment of laws that support surrogacy and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

The law governing family and persons in the county allows IVF but is not clear on surrogacy.

“The law is not clear because it only recognizes assisted reproduction without stating whether it is surrogacy or IVF” said Dr Aflodis Kagaba, executive director at health development Initiative.

Kagaba criticised the brevity of the law, saying it only gives green light to “assisted reproduction to be done with mutual consent,” which raises fear for the practice.

“The worry is, the person may bear the child for the couple and refuses to handle it over to the owners because it is mutual consent” Mr Kagaba added.

Rwanda Today has learned of a couple who are seeking court endorsement for them to have another woman to carry the zygote and give birth to the baby.

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The case is ongoing at Kicukiro Primary Court in Kigali but the couple declined to speak to the media as they wait for the court to decide upon their plea.

Mr Kagaba said that if there were laws, the couple would not need to go to court but would just go for the service at the hospital. Rwanda Medical and Dental Council (RMDC) told Rwanda Today that although there is no “official regulatory document about surrogacy, we have not managed any related case at the council.”

Dr Jean Claude Byiringiro, chairman at RMDC added that if they got any related to surrogacy, they would “manage such case with reference to international standards”

Dr Felix Sayinzoga, division manager of Maternal and Child Health at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) dispelled the concerns about lack of the law on assisted reproduction “since Rwandans has not sought surrogacy services”

“There is no problem with surrogacy because it is not practiced in Rwanda, perhaps people are still prevented by culture,” he said.

Dr Sayinzoga added that Rwandans are currently seeking IVF which he said it is expensive especially for the fi rst time.

“The fi rst time includes collecting sperm and ovaries from the couple which makes it expensive. But when they go for the second time, it is cheaper because the sperms and ovaries are already kept for them,” he added.

“The challenge we should be looking at” Dr Sayinzoga said, “is that IVF is not covered by Mutuelle which is subscribed to by the biggest population”

Kagaba insisted that there is need for the law because people’s sperms and ovaries cannot be kept without law regulating the storage and use.

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