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Govt U-turns on surrogate twins

2021-05-19  Albertina Nakale

Govt U-turns on surrogate twins
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The home affairs ministry has reversed an earlier decision and granted permission to a same-sex couple to bring their twin daughters – born through surrogacy in South Africa – home to Namibia.

However, the ministry made it clear that the issuance is done without any prejudice to the case advanced by the minister in the high court about the citizenship of Yona Lühl Deldago, the couple’s two-year-old son, which remains sub judice. 

Equally, the issued travel certificates do not confer Namibian citizenship on the twins, Paula and Maya, and the issuance must not be construed to be a concession on the minister’s part that the twins are Namibian citizens.  Initially, the Windhoek High Court had dismissed an application by the couple to allow the twins to enter the country.

That decision has made headlines worldwide.

Maya and Paula were born via surrogacy to Namibian Phillip Lühl and his husband, Guillermo Delgado, on 13 March in Durban, South Africa. In a statement yesterday, home affairs' executive director Etienne Maritz said the applications for emergency travel certificates were received at a time when there was a change in the political leadership at the ministry. 

“We remain resolute to respect the courts of law of our land. We will, therefore, await the judgement of the high court pertaining to the requirements for proof of parentage in Yona’s case, and also on the eligibility for citizenship by descent in cases like the present. We urge the public to do likewise,” Maritz remarked. 

“On 17 May 2021, after studying documents filed in earlier court applications and consulting internally, the minister considered the applications, and authorised the issuance of emergency travel certificates applied for. The emergency travel certificates will enable the twins to travel to Namibia,” Maritz noted.

Lühl filed a high court application in
March, asking the court to order then
minister of home affairs Frans Kapofi to issue emergency travel certificates, or to allow him to enter Namibia with the two babies born
in South Africa.  In April, home affairs refused to grant permission to the parents for the twins to come to Namibia. Kapofi at the time requested DNA results as proof of paternity to remove any doubt about parenthood.

Lühl and Delgado got married in South Africa in 2014.

Gay Nation, an online magazine for the gay community, reported in March that the surrogacy agreement between the couple and the woman who agreed to carry the babies was approved and confirmed by the high court of South Africa in November 2017. 

In terms of that agreement, the children born through surrogacy were declared to be the children of Lühl and Delgado from the moment of their birth.  -anakale@nepc.com.na


2021-05-19  Albertina Nakale

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