The Johannesburg High Court has approved a surrogacy agreement that will allow a gay couple to raise a child of their own.

Under the new Children’s Act a court must grant an order allowing a surrogate mother to relinquish her parental rights and responsibilities before the process can go ahead.

Judge Seun Moshidi’s order means that the two men, whose names have not been released, will be able to proceed with fertilising the egg of one man’s sister with the other man’s sperm and then implanting it in a 32-year-old woman who will carry the child to birth.

It is believed that this is the first case involving a gay couple since the law, which is applicable regardless of sexual orientation, came into effect in April.

“We want a child that is genetically related to both of us and we believe we will be able to provide a child with a loving, caring and stable home environment filled with stimulation, a good education and moral values,” the couple told The Star.

According to the newspaper, the couple have struggled for seven years to find a woman to act as a surrogate for their child and have faced homophobic reactions from fertility clinics and surrogacy services in their quest.

The Children’s Act aims to discourage the practice of women profiting from “renting” their wombs. While the couple will cover all medical and psychological expenses associated with the pregnancy they are not allowed to pay the surrogate for her service.

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