A middle-aged woman was on Thursday, March 12, arraigned before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot for allegedly defrauding a Dutch national of his Ksh2.9 million.
Winnie Warigia Maina, a director at Family Fertility and Surrogacy Agency in Nairobi, is said to have obtained money from Dion William Van Aardt by claiming she could get him a woman to carry his child at a fee. The arrangement is what is known — professionally — as surrogacy.
The court was told that Warigia obtained Ksh2.9 million from Dion by false pretenses between January 12, 2018 and February 19, 2019.
Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot heard that Warigia committed the offence alongside others who were not before court.
“Warigia allegedly obtained Ksh2.9 million from Aardt by falsely pretending that her company was in a position to provide surrogacy services to him, a fact she knew to be false,” read the charge sheet.
The prosecutor will rely on three witnesses to prove that Warigia is guilty of the said-offence.
Warigia, who denied the charge, was released on a cash bail of Ksh200, 000 or a Ksh1 million bond.
The senior principal magistrate set March 26, 2020 as the mention date.
According to the website of Warigia’s company — Family Fertility and Surrogacy Agency — the accused is a four-time surrogate mother.
“Warigia’s multiple surrogacy journeys in the Kenyan context give her insight into surrogacy and its challenges and benefits,” says the suspect’s profile on the website.
The company describes itself as one that “aims to provide affordable fertility solutions to intended parents”.
Surrogacy: What is it, how is it done?
Circles Surrogacy defines surrogacy as a method of assisted reproduction where intended parents work with a gestational surrogate who will carry and care for their baby(ies) until birth. Intended parents use surrogacy to start or grow their families when they can’t do so on their own.
Web MD says there are two kinds of surrogate mothers: a traditional surrogate and a gestational surrogate.
The traditional surrogate is a woman who gets artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm. She then carries the baby and delivers it for you and your partner to raise.
The gestational surrogate relies on a technique called “in vitro fertilization” (IVF), which makes it possible to gather eggs from the mother, fertilize them with sperm from the father, and place the embryo into the uterus of a gestational surrogate. The surrogate then carries the baby until birth. She doesn’t have any genetic ties to the child because it wasn’t her egg that was used. A gestational surrogate is called the “birth mother.” The biological mother, though, is still the woman whose egg was fertilized.
According to the rule of surrogacy procedure, the surrogate must be of age between 21 to 30 years and preferably a married surrogate with kids.
What the Kenyan law says
Kenya currently lacks a law that regulates surrogacy. The practice is, however, not prohibited. The Sensible Surrogacy Guide says surrogacy in Kenya is widely accepted, while at the same time viewed skeptically by religious leaders.
In October 2014, Nominated Senator Judith Sijeny sought to address the gap in law governing surrogacy when she sponsored the Assisted Reproductive Technologies Bill 2014.
The Bill, however, was never passed. Therefore, as of today, Kenya still doesn’t have a law to govern surrogacy arrangements.