Graduand Spotlight; Mariah Mumbi – Gestational Surrogate Motherhood in Kenya
Strathmore Law student, 21 year old Mariah Mumbi Kirubi is passionate about things that ignite interest in her, especially matters that will enabled her provide a positive impact to the society.
Under the title; A Critical Analysis of the Legal, Ethical and International Perspectives to Altruistic (non-commercial) Gestational Surrogate Motherhood in Kenya: Whose Baby Is It?, the 3rd born in a family of four children researched on surrogacy arrangements, an area that is not widely investigated.
Mumbi, will graduate with a 1st class honours, owing to hardwork, determination, sacrifice and a supporting system. She is no stranger to achieving high grades, as she attained a mean average of an A of 82 marks in her KCSE national examination, from Loreto High School Limuru.
What does it take to attain high grades?
Determination- the journey isn’t a straight road but if you stay focused and determined through the huddles, you will make it.
Hard work and Sacrifice- through the journey, there were choices to be made, you learn to prioritise and eventually you realise it’s the little decisions we make every day that ultimately have a large impact.
Support-system- the law journey isn’t an easy one, any law student would attest to this. I wouldn’t have made it through without the unconditional support of my family and close friends.
Why the particular research topic?
In my 2nd year in law school, I came across a story in the newspapers concerning a gestational surrogacy arrangement that had been entered into by two parties. Once the child was born, a legal tussle ensued between the surrogate and the intending couple as both claimed legal parental rights over the child. The courts, realising there is no law in Kenya to give direction on the issue, faced a challenge in deciding to whom parental rights would be entitled to.
This automatically ignited my interest in surrogacy arrangements. I began to explore further into the legal aspects of such arrangements in Kenya and realised we have a Reproductive Health Care Bill that affords a chapter to these agreements, but the Bill does not address the issue of legal parentage in the event of a tussle such as the one described above.
What were your findings?
Based on the research I conducted which included a comparison with the legal frameworks of other jurisdictions, my dissertation recommended that provided the altruistic gestational surrogacy arrangement is entered into legally and both parties adhere to certain safeguards to ensure no party is coerced into the agreement, the parental rights should go to the intending couple and the Bill should provide for this.
Where did your interest for Law stem from?
The most attractive feature of Law to me is that it is one of the most versatile fields you can enter into. There is a lot you can venture into with Law, thus, you are not limited. This influenced me a lot when I chose law because it meant I could go into either the corporate world, oil and gas industry, policy making, constitutional law, international arena etc.
How did you balance studies and being active in extracurricular activities?
Extra-curricular activities in Law school such as moots or joining certain clubs are a perfect way to merge your studies with an all rounded university experience. I could not ignore these opportunities, all I needed to do is have a proper time management plan, where I worked out my studies around the different activities that I took part in.
I took part in the recently concluded International Criminal Moot Court Competition 2017 at The Hague.
Do you have a role model who inspires your drive?
My role models are my amazing parents. On the one hand, my dad is the strong pillar that has always taught me to never give up, to never back down and to never be afraid of aiming higher. His mantra; “you can be anything you set your mind to, Mariah, never ever give up.”
On the other hand, my beautiful mother is the machine that always keeps things running. She is a blend of wise counsel I can always count on, a sound motherboard to lean on and the strong force that has taught me to keep pushing forward, not forgetting the successful lady she is with impeccable business acumen.
Where do you see yourselves in the next 5-10 years?
Well, first, I hope to have been admitted to the bar and then probably I will be in the private commercial law sector working with clients from different fields such as the Infrastructure industry, Oil and gas sector, the energy sector and the IP(Intellectual Property sector) etc.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love exercising and going to the gym, it actually is very relaxing for me. I also enjoy spending time with my close friends and family.
Congratulations to Mumbi on her great achievement!!