FJA Shortlist 2021

Category: Outstanding Investigative Reporting

Series: Hard Labour: The Surrogacy Industry in Kenya

Naipanoi Lepapa

The Elephant, Africa Uncensored - May 28, 2021

Hard Labour: The Surrogacy Industry in Kenya – Part I

Commercial surrogacy agencies market Kenya as a safe, affordable and welcoming surrogacy destination to desperate and guileless foreign couples via dozens of websites. They mostly operate legally under Kenyan laws. Some operate quietly out of private houses in the Nairobi suburbs. In one case, the actual ownership trail disappears into the secretive and anonymous offshore world via the UK and the obscure Marshall Islands.

Introduction

An investigation has raised serious concerns that vulnerable women and babies may have been exploited by commercial agencies which market Kenya to foreigners as a highly affordable destination for surrogacy. Surrogate Monica was hired to deliver a baby for a commissioning parent who later changed their mind. Forced into a late term abortion, for which she says she was never fully compensated, she wakes up from a recurring nightmare that the dead baby is lying on her bed.

Read more at: https://www.theelephant.info/long-reads/2021/05/28/hard-labour-the-surrogacy-industry-in-kenya-part-i/ 

 

Hard Labour: The Surrogacy Industry in Kenya – Part II

Commissioning parents who venture into the legal minefield of surrogacy in Kenya also risk losing their money, children, or both – either to the state who might intervene by taking the child away, or to surrogates who later backtrack and decide they want to keep the child. Allegations of human trafficking are also a real concern.

Navigating the law There is currently no legal framework in Kenya which provides for the uniqueness of gestational surrogacy, leaving its participants to work around the existing laws and, in some cases, to bend them to the limit. This journalist even recorded one agent who seemed to suggest that hospital staff could be bribed to falsify birth certificates. “Because there is no legal framework for surrogacy that would transfer the child to the commissioning parent, the closest framework that exists to permanently transfer parental rights is adoption via the courts,” said Bobby Mkangi, a constitutional lawyer and expert in child rights and protection who served on the task force that drafted the Adoption Regulations.

Read more at: https://www.theelephant.info/long-reads/2021/05/29/hard-labour-the-surrogacy-industry-in-kenya-part-ii/