Growing group of babies waits in Ukraine for parents, who cannot come


Eastern Europe


The number of surrogacy babies in Ukraine will grow up to 100, the organisation warns. Photo: surrogacy crisis in 2020. Photo AFP, Sergei Supinsky

If the situation does not change quickly, there will soon be a group of 100 surrogacy babies in Kyiv waiting for their parents. At this moment, there is a group of 41 children in a care unit just outside the capital.

The lawyer of the largest surrogacy organisation in Ukraine, Biotexcom, has reported that to both the British BBC and Swedish SVT.

Internationally, Ukraine is one of the big centres for surrogacy, and for sure the cheapest. Poor women in the country carry 2000 to 2,500 children for couples, most in the Western world. Sometimes these are same-sex couples.
All over the country, there are 50 reproductive clinics. These are specialised firms that make contact between the Ukrainian woman and the foreign couple. Biotexcom is the largest of them and has contracted 500 surrogacy mothers. But without a doubt, there are more organisations for surrogate babies in the country.

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Care unit for children in a basement. Photo screenshot video Biotexcom

Usually, foreign parents come to collect their child after birth. Sometimes, they are even present at birth. But since the war broke out, it is no longer possible to go to Ukraine. Some mothers from Ukraine have moved with other refugees to neighbouring countries. But the legislation is not the same there. The woman carrying and delivering the baby is seen as the legal mother as well. Because of that, handing over a child to a foreign couple can be prosecuted for human trafficking.

Biotexcom is thinking about how to care for the 41 children. According to its lawyer, the organisation is looking for a way to bring them to a safer place in the country's west. But that's not easy, since also travelling is risky.

Delivery in border town

The BBC portrays several surrogacy mothers from Ukraine. Svetlana is one of them. From the first shots of the war on February 24, she stayed in close contact with Emma in Australia, whose child she is carrying. After a few days, Svetlana moved to Moldova, where she stayed in the capital Chisinau. Svetlana's husband had to stay in Ukraine. But to prevent legal problems, she had to travel back to a border town in Ukraine for childbirth.

Second surrogacy crisis

This is the second surrogacy crisis in Ukraine. The first was during the first Covid-19 wave in May 2020. In the centre of Kyiv, there was also a group of 100 babies waiting. In the Swedish Christian daily Dagen, the columnist Frida Park asks questions about the matter. She speaks about a "global industry" around women who carry children for somebody else. "At the same time, 30,000 women have an abortion in Sweden. Is it such a large step to dare to talk about adoption as an alternative to surrogacy – and abortion? If only a few per cent of these tens of thousands of women who choose abortion could think about finishing the pregnancy and giving birth to the child, a child who would thus be both longed for and raised in a family that has the opportunity to give it love and security, would it be so wrong? Is this so unthinkable?"

Park asks what the legal identity of the children is. "The children are in a horrible no man's land, unaware of the limbo they ended up in because of the war", Park says. "Does the right child end up in the right cradle? Can parents receive the child they have been waiting for and paid for? Nobody knows."



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