The surrogacy agency which released a video showing dozens of babies stranded in a hotel in Ukraine has attracted international attention and domestic criticism.
Lyudmyla Denisova, the human rights ombudsman for the Ukrainian parliament, said the video showed the country had a “massive and systemic” surrogacy industry which offered a high-quality product for international clients. She said that more than 100 babies are awaiting their parents who commissioned them.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, two of the country’s leading Catholic clerics, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, and Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv, took advantage of the publicity to denounce the practice.
“They were shown as a purchased product for no-show buyers,” they said in an open letter, as reported in Crux. “Such a demonstration of contempt for the dignity of the human person is difficult to contemplate. And all this is made possible by legalized surrogate motherhood.”
“So-called surrogate motherhood, which should not be called ‘motherhood,’ entails not only the horrible phenomena now manifested, but, at its core, is a moral evil and brings countless sufferings and hardships to all participants in this deal, including the child, surrogate mother, members of her family, and, finally, the people who order and ‘produce’ children,” the bishops said.
In their letter, the prelates also condemned so-called “altruistic surrogacy,” where a woman bears a child for another without payment, as morally unacceptable, “for even if the intention of the surrogate mother is good, the means and the object itself are bad.”
But commercial surrogacy, “from a moral point of view, deserves an even harsher assessment because it adds the moral evil of buying and selling the functions of the body and the person of the newborn child. No circumstances or consequences can justify the practice of surrogacy.”
Ms Denisova has called upon Parliament to ban fertility procedures and surrogacy for foreigners. "Children in Ukraine should not be the subject of human trafficking," she said. "Ukraine is becoming a donor country for foreigners, giving birth to children whose fate it cannot control."
The scandal could become a major setback for the international surrogacy industry, as Ukraine has been a major source of young women for couples from around the world.
Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge
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