Criteria for assessing the suitability of intended surrogate mothers in South Africa: Reflections on Ex Parte KAF II

D W Thaldar


In order to protect the interests of all parties involved in a surrogacy agreement as best as possible, what should the psychological profile of a surrogate mother be? This is the question that the Johannesburg High Court recently engaged with in the case of Ex Parte KAF II. The court had the benefit of a psychological expert opinion co-authored by three clinical psychologists. In their joint opinion, these experts suggested an answer to the question in the form of eight criteria for assessing the suitability of an intended surrogate mother. The surrogate mother should: (i) understand the nature of surrogate motherhood; (ii) agree with the commissioning parents regarding selective reduction; (iii) be motivated by altruism; (iv) enjoy good mental health; (v) be emotionally well-resourced; (vi) be emotionally available for her own child or children; (vii) be free of unhealthy substances; and (viii) be financially stable. Although reformulated, these eight criteria were effectively adopted by the court, thus creating a new precedent to be followed by clinical psychologists who provide reports to the court in future surrogacy cases.

Author's affiliations

D W Thaldar, School of Law, Howard College, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa, and associate member, KwaZulu-Natal Bar, South Africa

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South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2019;12(2):61-66. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.2019.v12i2.670

Article History

Date submitted: 2019-12-17
Date published: 2019-12-17

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