Rwandan court backs surrogacy in landmark ruling

Nyarugenge Intermediate Court on Friday, September 11 ruled in favour of a couple that has for months pursued legal approval to have a child by surrogacy.

The case had ignited debate among legal practitioners and human rights activists for the past three months.


On June 30 this year, a judge at Kicukiro Primary Court in Kigali denied the couple the right to have children through surrogacy.


The couple had gone to court after other legal means in Rwanda to have children (naturally or artificial insemination) failed.


Surrogacy was the remaining option. 

Surrogacy is a medical procedure involving fertilization of reproductive cells in laboratories and placing the embryo in another woman’s womb to carry the pregnancy and eventually deliver the child on behalf of another couple.

The couple found a surrogate mother but doctors advised them to get a legal greenlight before they can begin medical procedures. 

The judge ruled to block this procedure saying that the law provides that “procreation occurs between a man and a woman or with assistance” while the petitioners were seeking reproduction between two families which is out of the law.

The couple appealed the decision.

On September 11, Judge Adolphe Udahemuka of Nyarugenge Intermediary Court which heard the appeal pronounced that the two couples go ahead with surrogacy procedures.

The verdict dictates that the surrogate couple will bear and deliver the child. At birth, the child will be registered to the biological family but stay with the surrogate couple for a period of six months after birth.

The court decision is the first of its kind in Rwanda and it is likely to bring about many other couples who have in the past expressed interest in surrogacy.

Existing law governing persons and families recognize medically assisted ways of reproduction.

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