Ukrainian surrogate babies are trapped in Kyiv basement


Eastern Europe


Women lay in a maternity hospital's basement which is used as a bomb shelter, in Kiev. Image not related to article. Photo EPA, Roman Pilipey

While the biological parents are locked out of Ukraine because of the war, their children are born to surrogate mothers in the war-torn country. It is unclear how parents and children can be united.

While the biological parents are locked out of Ukraine because of the war, their children are born to surrogate mothers in the war-torn country. It is unclear how parents and children can be united.

Ukraine is famous for its surrogacy industry. It is one of the few countries where foreigners, relatively cheap, can ‘receive’ a child. In total, fourteen companies offer the service in the eastern European country. The Kyiv-based company BioTexCom is the largest one of them. They currently operate from a basement in Kyiv.

In that basement, nineteen surrogate babies are trapped. Their biological parents cannot retrieve them, and it is too dangerous to go out on the streets and flee the country. Besides, it is unclear who will be registered as the lawful parent in another country where the rules are stricter than in Ukraine.


In an interview, Albert Tochylovsky, the owner of BioTexCom, said that he had faced a hard choice in setting up the basement nursery. According to Tochylovsky, the other option had been to drive about forty women who were near term across Ukraine during the fighting. He promised to care for the babies.

However, Tochylovsky doubts the choice he made. “Maybe I made the wrong decision”, he said to the New York Times. If the situation worsened, he said he would close the basement nursery.

The nursery of BioTexCom houses nineteen babies at the moment. This writes the New York Times. The babies are being cared for by nannies. “Of course, we cannot abandon the babies,” said Ms Yashenko, 51. Her husband and two sons, all soldiers in Ukraine’s army, have urged her to get out of Kyiv.

“They want me to leave, but I cannot abandon my colleagues, I cannot abandon my work, I cannot abandon these babies,” she said. “I will remain here until everything is back in its place.”

Factory worker

The complex situation not only concerns the people in the war-torn country. It also hits parents, who seem helpless from the sidelines. The Christian Norwegian daily Vårt Land writes about Sarit and Alex Haiman from Israel. After Sarit had gone through twelve years of unsuccessful fertility treatments, she and her husband reached out to an international surrogacy agency based in Israel. They then came in contact with the Ukrainian Olga Voytenko, a 35-year-old factory worker, who got pregnant after embryo implantation six months ago. She now lives in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia.

The Haimans want Voytenko to leave the country to protect their unborn child. The press agency Reuters reports that the Israeli couple, who already spent over 70,000 euros, had asked Israeli authorities to help them get Voytenko and her two children out of the country. However, Voytenko refuses to go. She is six months pregnant, has two children of her own and is afraid of what might happen.


According to The Atlantic, every year, around 2,500 surrogate babies are born in the country. BioTexCom, the largest surrogate company in Ukraine, states that about 200 surrogate babies will be born in March, April, and May.

Ukraine’s liberal biotechnology legislation has three requirements for couples who want to enter into a contract with Ukrainian women to have a child with them: They must be heterosexual, married, and there must be a medical explanation for having no children. However, loose oversight and corruption have attracted same-sex couples too, a study from Princeton University shows.



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