The motion sponsor warned that if not urgently checked, the trend will lead to an increase in cases of infertility and cancer infections among young donors.
The House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Health Institutions and Human Rights to investigate cases of unethical and exploitative practices in egg procurement and surrogacy by fertility hospitals and clinics in Nigeria.
The resolution follows the adoption of a motion sponsored by Rep. BabaJimi Benson (APC, Lagos), wherein he 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.
In his lead debate, Rep. Benson averred 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, upon recognizing that the practice is providing an alternative avenue for establishing pregnancies and parenthood.
According to him, “The Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures 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.”
The lawmaker, however, 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.
“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.”
Benson feared 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.
He warned that if the 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.