Joyce Lay Biography

Joyce Lay (Joyce Wanjala Lay) was born on 29 June 1973 in Taita Taveta county, Kenya. She is the former women representative for Taita Taveta County. In 2017 general elections she was an aspirant senator for Taita Taveta County.

Joyce Lay Education Background

She attended Mariwenyi primary school, Mwandango secondary school and Munda High School for her secondary education and
later joined the University of Nairobi graduating with a
Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Sociology.

Joyce Lay Career

She worked with Mwanyumba and Company Advocates, Bio Foods Company until 2005 where she ventured into her own private businesses including being a Safaricom agent which enabled her create employment within the County of Taita Taveta.

Joyce Lay Political Career

  • 1st June 2017 – 8th August 2017: Aspirant Senator for Taita
    Taveta county.
  • 2017: Member of Jubilee Coalition.
  • 10th March 2013 – 16th July 2017: Women Representative for Taita Taveta county.
  • Started 13th February 2013: Member of Coalition for Reforms & Democracy.
  • Started 8th February 2013: Member of Orange Democratic Movement

Joyce Lay IVF, Barrenness and Child

She gave an emotional speech on the frustrations she went through when she had to use a surrogate mother to give birth to her only child as she seconded a motion on assisted reproduction or in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) bill 2014 – currently in its amendment stage – sponsored by Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo-Mabona.

She urged Parliament to enact the proposed law that seeks to
formalise alternative modes of conception therefore allowing
women who give birth through the IVF process to be recognised as
legitimate mothers.

“I had to adopt my own baby, a process that took almost four
years since the law does not recognise surrogacy. The current
IVF law states that the woman who gives birth is the mother of
the baby and it is her name that appears on the child’s birth
certificate.Period.” Says the mother to four-year-old Terrence

However, Hon Joyce was not born barren. “I was a young mother at
19 following a love affair with a schoolmate forcing me to drop
out of school but later applied at a private school to sit for
my KCSE. My son then passed away at the age of two through
yellow fever,” she says and admits to have attempted suicide
following the devastating experience.

After sometime, she started experiencing pains in her lower
abdomen prompting her to visit the doctor. “The doctor,
suspecting I had cancer of the cervix, suggested I go through a
corn biopsy,” she narrates of the painful procedure.

Even though she was happy that the result was negative of
cancer, the pain persisted prompting a second visit to the
doctor who found out that her fallopian tubes were blocked, a
complication arising from the prior surgery.

Permanent Solution

“A second surgery was performed but I would now bleed without
warning, prompting my rush to the ICU every other time,” she
recalls of even how her now ex-husband, William Lay, stood by
her when she was an embarrassment.

“When I could no longer bear the bleeding, I, together with my
now ex-husband – whom she met by chance at an event to honour
the 1998 bomb blast victims – sought a permanent solution;
hysterectomy – a procedure to remove my womb and consequently
shatter all my hopes of ever carrying a baby,” she says of the
difficult 2008 decision.

“I struggled with the central difficulty associated with
infertility – primary or secondary; the acute, private distress
that transforms into a harsh, public stigma with complex and
devastating consequences,” she reveals.

Understanding that infertility is a shared responsibility, she
got friends who understood her and talked her heart out. As they
say, “A problem shared is a problem solved”. A friend advised
that since she had her ovaries intact, she should get a
surrogate mother.

The process of identifying a surrogate mother and beginning the
IVF procedure kicked off in 2009. After eliminating the numerous
offers due to weight and age issues, she was lucky to find a
friend who fit the bill to be her surrogate mother, for free.

The married mother of two had the conversation with the family
and when they were in agreement with the husband that she would
carry Ms Joyce’s baby, both women were put on treatment.

Legal agreement

“As the doctor at the Nairobi IVF center counselled us, he kept
reminding us of the fact that only 52 per cent are successful at
their first trial. He told us of people who had tried up to 15
times,” she said adding that the sessions cost at least
Sh350,000 per treatment. She was lucky that her first trial was
very successful.

Joyce and her friend signed a legal agreement with clear cut
conditions. Joyce says she took good care of her friend
revealing she attended all hospital visits and made sure she was

It was at the point when the surrogate mother was to hand over
the baby as soon as she gave birth that all hell broke loose.
She realised that the law does not provide for unique cases such
as surrogate motherhood.

Her son had to bear the name of his surrogate mother on his
birth certificate and Joyce had to then go through the legal
process of adopting her own son for her name to appear on his
birth certificate.

“While, I had the option of going through the back door to have
my name appended as the mother on my son’s birth certificate, I
had declared leadership and wanted to do it the right way,” she
says of the adoption journey that has taken her almost four

It was then that she was convinced that she had been put in this
leadership at a time like this – that no woman would have to go
through the pain of adopting her own child, hence the IVF bill.

Source: Eve Woman

Joyce Lay Interview

Interviewer: How was it growing up in rural Taita Taveta

Joyce Lay: I was born in a small village called Mariwenyi in Mwatate, Taita Taveta County. As I child, I walked through the path of poverty. From the days of sleeping hungry, going to school with no shoes, having only one dress that I used to wash at night and wear in the morning. Do not ask if I had a panty or not. I remember wearing my first shoe when I was being admitted to Form One.

Interviewer: What memories do you have of your childhood

Joyce Lay: I am a village girl who went to Mariwenyi Primary School, but I could tell right from my early age that I did not want to live such a life. That is why I excelled in class. I grew up not knowing the love of parents because my father was an Administration Police officer who was always away and whenever he was home, it was not always rosy. He beat up our mother frequently that when I got pregnant, I could not face him.

Interviewer: What was your father’s reaction

Joyce Lay: Well, I gathered some courage and broke the news to him then he told me in my face that I was no longer his child. At that point, my world came to an end. I left home, picked a rope and I headed to the bush ready to commit suicide. Luckily, my little brother saw me and he knew what I was going to do. So, he quietly followed me and managed to stop me (breaks down in tears and sobs uncontrollably). To this day, I am glad that my father gave me a second chance to go back to school and agreed that I must continue with my education. He believed in me and this became my drive.

Interviewer: Did your mother support you and how did you juggle school with motherhood

Joyce Lay: My mother remains the pillar of our family. Even at my most trying moments, she stood by me and encouraged me. Even after raising us, she was still ready and willing to help me raise my son. She loved him (sobs).

Interviewer: Where is the baby daddy

Joyce Lay: I had a teen lover whom I met during my school days in the village. I would not share the exact details because I cannot even tell where he went to or where he is today. Like I said, my father was a no-nonsense person so, immediately word went round that I was expectant, my boyfriend took off and I have never seen him again.

Interviewer: Please narrate the events leading to your son’s passing…

Joyce Lay: I remember I was in school but we had come to Nairobi for a trip when I had a phone call from my mother through one of the teachers telling me that my young boy was unwell. But things happened so fast because the following day, I received the sad news he had passed on. The doctors said he could have suffered from severe yellow fever, but my mother suspected poisoning probably from the playground.

Interviewer: Did you ever get over the death your son

Joyce Lay: Not really, his death dealt me the biggest blow. I was only 19 then and here I was thinking about things like peer pressure having been born in the village where a young lady did not have to carry an unwanted pregnancy. I had the choice of abortion but I did not take such nonsense because I wanted to raise my baby but he did not live to be.

Interviewer: At some point you dropped out of school

Joyce Lay: Yes, by the time I went back to school my father suffered a stroke. He got sick, paralyzed and he remained bed-ridden for a long time. I remember visiting him and while on his hospital bed, he encouraged me to go back to school.

He told me, “Go back to school because when I die, you will take care of the family.” That left me shocked and confused because I am just but the seventh born, how did he expect me to take care of the family.

Joyce Lay Photo

Joyce Lay
Joyce Lay

Joyce Lay Video