Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Baby farm

You can buy a baby for N340,000 in Enugu. Although the doctor in charge of the baby farm says they are actually for sale for N10-20,000. The story being from Dis Day, the journalist had not actually followed up and asked questions to the pregnant girls, so we don't know how much cut they were getting for providing the product.

Given that one's identity as a woman in Nigeria is defined by having children (no children = barren = useless), its no surprise that the baby farm business has cropped up to cater to the need.


anonymaus,  5:20 pm  

It is a shame that human life has been devalued to the extent, that the act of giving birth has been reduced to a mere financial transaction.

I do have a point however, when Nigerians move abroad their mellow their "mechanical" approach to being a woman ie produce offspring and are more willing to persevere to have a child (should that be the case).

In this day and age, surely partners can see beyond their wives ability to have children? (How would they (men) feel if their wife discovered they were the problem and ran off to have a kid elsewhere?). What of the feelings of their wives/ partners? Do people have no regard for one another?

Cultural insensitivity, pushy in-laws and malicious outsiders are responsible for the fostering of such attitudes. Maybe one day people will see this is not the way (foster a long-term marriage), and the phenomenon of surrogate mothers (or rent-a-womb incubators) will fade away, never to return (at least reduce in frequency would be good)!

Ms. Catwalq 5:59 pm  

It seems to me that he offers an alternative to those who are against abortions and for those who seek the kids....

This is not surprising news...

Anonymous,  11:37 pm  

anaonymaus (anon Number 1, 5:20 pm), I believe it is unfair to say that this is a 'Nigerian' thing. Certain regions in Nigeria practice this, where the men are desperate to have children at any costs. I lived in the SW, SE and NW for several years, and saw countless couples in the West and North who had no chilren. In most cases, the couples did not resort to these desperate measures.

In the SE, however, the story is entirely different.

It would be unfair to think that this is a Nigerian thing. I believe it is more a regional/cultural thing.

anonymaus,  3:24 am  

Same story, different account, check this out ...

anonymaus,  11:26 am  

Anonymous (3rd post at 11.37 pm).

It's good to hear, that not everyone there has such a mechanical view of being a woman. If that is the case long may it continue.

Rather than resorting to witchcraft,or men running hither and thither in search of a "fertile" womb to have children. There is always legal adoption, if done in the right way would be good for all concerned.

Anengiyefa 4:18 pm  

I dont see that there's much difference between the buying of babies such as has been described here, and legal adoption, if in the long run the welfare of the child is ensured. A lot of children who are eventually legally adopted, were once dumped by their mothers. What this doctor appears to be offering, is a reasonable alternative for mothers who would otherwise have discarded their babies on doorsteps, rubbish bins and the like. Besides, being under medical supervision the health of mother and child are safeguarded.

While it is true that the culture in Nigeria often demands that a woman bear children of her own, in several other countries, and particularly in the developed world, childlessness has led numerous parents-to-be to scour the orphanages in less developed countries, particularly in Asia and Latin America in search of children to adopt. And while "adopt" is the word we would all like to use in these cases, it is a well known fact that several of these parents do pay huge sums of money for the privilege of taking a baby home with them. If this is not buying a baby, then I don't know what else it could be.

The point is that I dont think the buying of babies is a peculiarly Nigerian thing, despite the cultural pressure on women to bear children.

Sandrine 6:34 pm  

Hi Jeremy,

I read the article two times. Mr. Ugwoke seemed pretty sloppy in his editing and his research. "Breed" is an insulting and unnecessary word. He never mentioned the young women’s background or story and didn't interview any of them. He didn't explain either what the doctor's justification for the money was(medical costs or up-keeping of the place?) So at the end it is hard to figure out if the young women are going there to have birth when their pregnancy is already on the way because of hardship or if they actually get pregnant on purpose which changes the story radically.
The status of women is very often defined by having children, not just in Nigeria. Motherhood is an exclusive club like the "corvette owners club" even among women.
For the longest time in societies, what defined women was the ability to produce a male heir even though, as everybody knows now, men are the carriers of the Y chromosome. Nowadays, the fact that a woman has or doesn't have children still defines her even though people are not always upfront about it. Also depending on the country or the area, there is a magic number of kids that people have in their collective mind. If a woman is under or over, the attitude of her community changes.


Anonymous,  7:39 pm  

mMary Mary Quite Contrary...

"Given that one's identity as a woman in Nigeria is defined by having children (no children = barren = useless)

did you just put that in to be contoversial? i mean, i am a naijababe, a bloody fertile one, full brood and all- but i have never heard that a "barren" woman,I prefer the word childless btw, has less VALUE than a breeder. While Africans generally value even idolise the notion of motherhood, saying that childless women are without or less valued is just inflammatory tosh.

Sandrine 9:12 pm  

to anon 7:39
A woman without children has obviously not less value.A person is a person no matter if they have off springs or not.I think what Jeremy was trying to say is that it is how she might be perceived. It is unfortunately unconsciously imprinted in the collective mind because of the need to keep the survival of the group. Just observe how pregnant women are treated.
And even if people don't tell somebody to their face, they will have a different attitude toward a person without children.
By the way,why did you feel the need to say that you were fertile?


Anonymous,  2:41 pm  

humor sandrine, humor. but you're right might have been freudian assertion of superiority...
i concede. ouch.

nneoma 5:19 am  

@anonymous 7:39
"i am a naijababe, a bloody fertile one, full brood and all- but i have never heard that a "barren" woman,I prefer the word childless btw, has less VALUE than a breeder."
Where the heck have you been. Jeremy is very much on the dot in that generally in Naija, a barren woman is seen as a useless fact some people have characterized the situation as marrying a man. Maybe your own fertility has blinded you the plight of those who are without child.

@anonymous 11:37, the second anonymous, (rolls eyes) we go again....

pyoo wata
the nollywood critique

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