Ukraine begins to open borders for babies of surrogate mothers

The Biotexcom nursery / Reuters 

Foreign couples who waited two months because of Covid-19 border closures are finally collecting their babies from surrogate mothers in Ukraine.

According to Ukraine's human rights ombudswoman, Lyudmila Denisova, 31 couples were united with their infant children.

After much lobbying, the Foreign Ministry allowed the commissioning couples to enter, conditional on a two-week quarantine and negative Covid-19 test. Currently, a total of 125 babies born to surrogates across Ukraine are awaiting parents from abroad.

The issue received wide attention when Biotexcom, the country's largest surrogacy operation, posted a video showing dozens of babies in an improvised nursery at a hotel for its clients.

Denisova said 88 more couples have received permits to enter the country and will arrive in the coming weeks. However, there will many more babies – perhaps as many as 1,000 – as other pregnant surrogate mothers give birth. The problem is that Ukraine is only opening its borders slowly, and to certain countries. In the meantime, the number of babies without parents is mounting.

According to the New York Times, “With permissive legislation, high-quality private maternity hospitals and an abundance of poor women, Ukraine has in recent years become the leading country providing surrogacy services to foreigners.”

Conditions must be difficult for surrogate mothers who are waiting for the parents to arrive. One of them told the NYTimes that the baby cries constantly and that the surrogacy agency is not supportive. “It was very hard,” she said. “I just want the parents to come and to take this girl away from me.”

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge

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