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Sithole to proceed with surrogacy in South Africa

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She insists on pursuing the surrogacy because the child was conceived in holy matrimony, something she says is important to her as a Christian.

TSAONE SEGAETSHO

Gofamodimo Sithole, the woman who was the subject of a recent controversial surrogacy case, has decided to go ahead and fertilize the zygote remaining at private laboratories in South Africa.
This is after the Court of Appeal (CoA) failed to decide the fate of a zygote which was part of her divorce case with Lekoko Baatweng, her ex husband who had wanted the zygote destroyed.
The CoA last Thursday was unable to deliver an explicit judgment on the fate of the frozen embryo which is currently stored in private laboratories of South Africa. The court said the surrogacy should have been concluded in South Africa where it was done.
In an exclusive interview with The Botswana Gazette, Sithole described herself as a biblical Sarah, an allusion to her barrenness which was caused by the removal of her womb after a miscarriage. She said her surrogacy is “permitted by God and no one can stop it” and that she was willing to conclude it. Sithole says she insists on pursuing the surrogacy because the child was conceived in holy matrimony, something she says is important to her as a Christian.
“The SA legislation requires that one should be domiciled in South Africa to do surrogacy…I am planning to relocate to SA temporary so that the surrogacy can be legally successful. I am processing the work permits as we speak,” said an adamant Sithole. Asked whether she did not worry that Baatweng could block her from pursuing the surrogacy, she said she hoped there wouldn’t be another impasse. Her husband’s consent is however required under South African law for the surrogacy to be completed. “I would not know what to do when my ex husband refuses to endorse the surrogacy. Let us hope he does not refuse to sign. But I will do anything on offer…I will approach the SA court and even seek custody of the zygote,” she said.
Yandani Boko, Sithole’s lawyer, said it was up to her to decide whether to pursue the surrogacy or not. He promised to assist her in any way possible in spite of the “uninspiring judgment” of the court. “I got what I wanted because the court didn’t say I cannot approach SA and confirm the agreement. However I am disappointed that the court overlooked a number of issues in this case,” he said.
Speaking about the surrogacy itself, 44 year old Sithole said it was emotionally taxing and expensive as it can cost over P100 000. She said she was going to incur further costs as she has to pay the cost of living for the surrogate mother who will carry the child in pregnancy and a lump sum pay to the mother after the project is completed: the couple had previously agreed to pay the surrogate mother P1000 a month and to stay with her until the child is born, giving her a lump sum P50 000 in the end.

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