The Parliament of Ghana has commenced processes to pass a law that will regulate the use of modern technologies to aid childbirth.
The practice, referred to as Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) which includes In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy, will be operated within a regulated space when the new law is eventually passed by the house.
IVF involves fertilization by extracting eggs or embryo from the woman, retrieving a sperm sample from the man, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish.
Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant and give birth to a child for another person who is or will become the parent of the child.
Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, making a statement on the floor of the house on Tuesday observed that these technologies have created a lucrative industry which has been left unregulated. He said there is the need for a law.
“Mr. Speaker, from my research, the cost of a cycle of treatment here in Ghana ranges from between Fifteen Thousand US Dollars ($15,000) and Forty Thousand US Dollars ($40,000).
“The challenge that ought to be confronted is the absolute absence of any form of regulation whatsoever”, he said.
“Already, evidence is emerging that this lacuna is leading to unethical practices and the blatant abuse of surrogacy and IVF processes here in Ghana”, he added
Mr. Ablakwa observed that the commercialization of the ARTs, especially surrogacy in some parts of the world are barred.
“In countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark and Belgium; surrogacy is allowed where the surrogate mother is not paid or only paid for reasonable expenses. Commercial surrogacy for profit is therefore prohibited in these countries”, he said.
MP for Ledzokuku , Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, in his contribution said it is surprising that consumable products and services are regulated but that of ARTs is not.
“It is sad that the industries that produce commodities that are consumed have regulation and the industry that produces the most complex entity, human beings is without legislation. The time to act is now”, he said
Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu and the Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Matthew Nyindam, also made supportive contributions to have the law passed.
The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, referred the issue to the combined committees on Health and, Constitutional and Legal Affairs.