In what The Herald calls a ground-breaking judgment, a court has ordered the Department of Home Affairs to register ‘Baby J’ within 30 days. It is the first judgment of its kind in SA in that the baby girl was born from surrogacy to a single father. The child’s father, lawyer Wesley Hayes (40), had approached the Eastern Cape High Court (Makhanda) to force the department to register his daughter.

Months after Baby J was born, Home Affairs refused to acknowledge him as her only parent. Hayes, represented by Advocate David Smith, then asked a judge to step in and compel the Minister to issue the birth certificate. Hayes was finally successful. The order further states that Hayes be named on the unabridged birth certificate as Baby J’s father, and that the place where ‘mother’ is typed, be filled in as not applicable.

Baby J’s birth had been achieved by means of a surrogacy birth in terms of a written surrogate motherhood agreement, confirmed via an order of the Eastern Cape High Court (Makhanda) in August 2019. She does not share any genetic material with the surrogate because she was conceived using Hayes’s sperm and a donor egg. ‘Baby J therefore does not have a “mother” and I plan to raise her as a single father,’ Hayes had explained in court papers. On a non-urgent basis, Hayes will still, on Baby J’s behalf, lodge a direct, constitutional challenge against the Births and Deaths Registration Act.

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