Home Opinion and Features Single fathers can now legally register a child born through surrogacy in...

Single fathers can now legally register a child born through surrogacy in SA

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While the Constitution recognises gay and lesbian marriage and the right to have children via surrogacy, legally registering a child born through a surrogate had proved a challenge for single fathers.

Wesley Hayes and daughter Justine. Picture: Facebook/Wesley Hayes

FOR SOME couples conceiving naturally is not only a stressful and difficult process but also impossible. Whether it’s because of fertility problems or other reasons, surrogacy has been an option for many people in South Africa.

While the Constitution recognises gay and lesbian marriage and the right to have children via surrogacy, legally registering a child born through a surrogate had proved a challenge for single fathers.

Wesley Hayes, 35, an attorney from Komani formally known as Queenstown, had his daughter via surrogacy and decided to raise her as a single parent.

“I always knew I wanted a baby but wanted to do it on my own. I could not imagine myself with anyone and I didn’t want any fighting, bickering about child maintenance” Hayes told Carte Blanche.

When his daughter, Justine, was born, he was not allowed to be there during the birth because of Covid restrictions. But when Hayes arrived at the hospital he said he knew that the child was his. “I immediately knew she was mine, I could recognise her, and I started crying,” he said.

Now, nearly a year after the little girl’s birth, she remains without an official name and identity. The formality of registering a name, available to single mothers, has not been available to single fathers.

However, the Makhanda High Court has made a ground-breaking ruling in this case.

This week, the court acknowledged that baby Justine was born of surrogacy and instructed Home Affairs to register Hayes as the father. His baby’s birth certificate will reflect him as the father and under mother, the birth certificate will read not applicable.

“This means that she is recognised as a person and I as a father. This will make things easier for those that follow. They don’t have to go through the process we went through. Thanks to the act that has culminated from it,” Hayes said.

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