A former Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, Reno Omokri, has expressed displeasure over crackdown on “baby factories” in the country, saying the practice should be allowed by government.
Mr. Omokri, the founder of the Mind of Christ Christian Centre in California, said calling the practice baby factory is stigmatization as it should be called surrogate motherhood.
“Every civilized nation accepts and promotes this practice as a humane option for childless couples,” he said an opinion article sent to PREMIUM TIMES Sunday.
Mr. Omokri, a pastor, wondered why Nigeria did not legalize a practice that brings succour to childless couple.
“I have been appalled reading about the raids on so called ‘Baby Factories’ in the media lately. These raids are a throwback to the Salem Witch Trials and I cannot believe that in Nigeria of the 21st Century we are stigmatizing what is an acceptable world wide culture that has brought hope to childless couples all over the world,’ he said in the article.
The former presidential aide continued, “For the avoidance of doubt, these women are surrogate mothers who have children for childless couples. Every civilized nation accepts and promotes this practice as a humane option for childless couples.
“The main reason many childless couples prefer a surrogate mother is because they want to know about the family history and genetics of the mother of their unborn child.
“In many cases, when you adopt a child without knowing who the parents are and there arises a need in future for a blood transfusion or an organ donor, many adoptive parents get stuck. Other medical issues like cancer, or behavioral issues like autism and ADD/ADHD are better diagnosed and treated if you have family history, which is not possible with anonymous adoptions. So, the idea of surrogate motherhood fills this gap.
“In Europe and the Americas as well as in Asia, surrogate mothers are well sought after and advertisements are placed in bus stations, newspapers, on the underground as well as on the Internet seeking out such women. I have included one such advert in this piece.
“Tens of thousands of surrogate children are born each year in the Americas and even more in Europe. Anyone who has ever experienced childlessness either directly or indirectly through a relative, extended family or friend is likely to appreciate the role surrogate mothers play in bringing succor to such families. To ostracize them and tag them ‘Baby Factories’ is most unfortunate indeed.”
Mr. Omokri urged the government to regulate the “sector”, and go after the real criminals.
He said, “If women freely elect to be surrogate mothers, the government should not stigmatize them! What Nigeria should do is to effectively regulate these establishments to ensure that:
a. These women are there willingly, and
b. The babies go to good homes.
“If government wants to show its exuberance, it should direct its law enforcement officials to go after real criminals, such as men who make babies with women and fail to cater for them. That is what civilized societies do! In the West, dead beat dads are chased after by the state and made to pay child support. But to criminalize what should be seen as a mutually beneficial venture is a waste of effort.
“If on the other hand it is demonstrated that they are doing is more than this (such as providing kids to ritualists and occultists), then I will not support it, but that does not seem to be the case and until it is proven otherwise, these women will have an advocate in me.”