Surrogates ind Ukraine Carrying babies to foreign couples is reluctant to flee their homeland despite the war, leaving biological parents worried about their children’s safety.
Ukraine is the second most popular destination for surrogacy for foreign couples after the United States, and it is estimated that there are currently 800 surrogates pregnant with children of foreigners.
It told Julia Osiyevska, director of the New Hope Surrogacy Agency in Ukraine I she can not leave the country despite the war, as she can not give up the surrogates and intended parents who depend on her.
She said it was difficult to balance the fears and needs of the surrogates and the people they carry children for.
“I understand both sides and know that prospective parents are scared and frightened when the surrogates carry their child,” she said.
“But we are treating the surrogates and the intended parents equally, and a surrogate has the right to say whether she does not want to move from Ukraine.
“Surrogates are not hostages or slaves; many of them are too scared to move to another place, even though there is war in Ukraine, and it is also a terribly difficult situation for them. ”
Talking to I from Ukraine, Ms. Osiyevska explained that New Hope is a small surrogate agency and currently supports nine pregnant surrogates.
It works with foreign couples, including those from the UK, US and Australia, and she says it’s a difficult time for prospective parents and surrogates carrying their babies.
“Life is ruined for everyone,” she said. “When the war took place, our lives changed completely. “Everyone warned Ukraine that Russia could invade, but we did not want to believe it.”
In addition to the nine surrogates who are pregnant, New Hope had enrolled other surrogates who had started the surrogacy process and began taking medication ready for embryo transfer.
However, she said their treatment has been stopped as all surrogacy programs have been canceled and their priority is to support the surrogates who are pregnant and their intended parents.
Mrs Osiyevska spent 19 hours in a bus carrying five pregnant surrogates and their children – 16 people in total – to transport them safely to Ukraine and across the border into Moldova.
However, she says some surrogates do not want to leave Ukraine as the prospect move to another country scares them, so she has ensured that they are all in safe places in Ukraine.
“We had a situation where a surrogate at the last minute refused to go to Moldova,” she said. “But she had every right to do this. Another surrogate that we took to Moldova, we had to bring back to Ukraine a few days later.
“There are two more surrogates in Moldova who want to return to Ukraine as they are having a hard time being in another country and far away from their family.”
She added: “There are many surrogates who do not want to leave Ukraine despite the danger of war. Men are banned from leaving Ukraine, so they will have to go without them and take their own children.
“Living in a place like Moldova is also more expensive, and many have no opportunity to support themselves without their husbands.
“There is also the mentality that it is very difficult to leave Ukraine and be away from their family in another country, and some prefer instead to be moved to a safer part of Ukraine.”
Ms. Osiyevska said a surrogate should give birth in a few weeks, and then there is a birth every month. She has arranged for maternity care to be provided in Moldova, and then the surrogates will be moved back to a safer part of western Ukraine for childbirth.
“I respect and understand why the prospective parents want the surrogates to move out of Ukraine, but I can also appreciate the concerns of the surrogates. It is about balancing both their needs and supporting everyone, ”she added
Surrogacy in Ukraine costs couples about $ 50,000, and surrogates are paid to carry one baby for another. Only couples of the opposite sex are allowed to access surrogacy in the country.
In the UK, surrogacy can only be performed altruistically, where surrogates may only be paid expenses. The legal situation is also more complex in the UK, as a surrogate is automatically granted legal rights, even where they have no biological connection to a child.
That’s what Mrs Osiyevska said I that at first she did not like the idea of surrogacy, but when she learned more about it, she decided that it was a great thing for one woman to do for another.
She said New Hope was a small agency that provided a personal service and “was not a baby factory.”
“I used to work on adoption for the Ukrainian government, and at first I did not like the idea of surrogacy,” she said. “I mistakenly thought it was like selling a child and trafficking in human beings.
“But I realized it’s not her baby; it’s an embryo created by her parents, and she’s just the carrier. She’s helping to grow a person’s baby in her womb, and that’s so great to do.
“After hearing so many stories from parents about their failed IVF attempts before surrogacy, one realizes that surrogates help build families.
“They are paid, but it is not to sell a baby. They do not bind to the baby, as they know from the beginning that it is not their baby. They are paid for the service they provide by carrying the baby, and to in return, they can spend that money on their own family. “