Stranded Babies, Sobbing Parents: Pandemic Splits Surrogates From Families

The Japan Times | September 22, 2020

This article expands on the stories of children born through surrogacy who are stranded in Eastern European countries and discusses the revival of the Chinese black market in the face of COVID travel restrictions. Additionally, police in Russia and Ukraine are raiding “baby dens” amidst fears of human trafficking. The article also highlights the stark contrast in the cost of surrogacy: Ukraine and Georgia 35-50K; Russia 73K, and California 200K.

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Chinese Infants Born to Chicago-Area Surrogates Are Stranded in the U.S. Without Their Parents, Due to COVID-19: ‘I Am Missing This Kid Every Minute.’

By Nara Schoenberg | Chicago Tribune | July 22, 2020

Vicky Li, a former employee at a Chicago based surrogacy agency, and her husband, Jerry Wu, have volunteered to care for two children born to surrogates until the parents can fly to the US from China. Hundreds of intended parents from other countries have not been able to come to the US to pick up their children born to surrogates, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. According to the article, the babies are being cared for by an impromptu collection of surrogates, agency employees, baby nurses, family friends and relatives.

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Surrogacy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 By Marla Neufeld | Lexology | June 25, 2020

With worldwide travel restrictions, closed courthouses, and limited governmental staff at critical offices, attorney Marla Neufeld updates recommendations regarding surrogacy arrangements in the US in the face of COVID-19. These include re-evaluating surrogacy agreements, determining whether health insurance policies for surrogates will cover COVID-19 treatments, and setting up contingency plans when unable to reach the US or return home.

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The Stranded Babies of Kyiv and the Women who Give Birth for Money

By Oksana Grytsenko | The Guardian | June 15, 2020

This article exposes the scale and problematic nature of the surrogacy industry in Ukraine, with the COVID crisis exacerbating conditions even more. The ombudsman for children is now calling for a ban on commercial surrogacy in Ukraine for foreign couples. Without sufficient regulation and protections in place, surrogates in Ukraine are beginning to self-organize on social media, where they share advice and warnings about agencies, and expose increased mistreatment during the pandemic.

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Irish Man ‘Stranded’ in Russia with Baby Appeals for Help to Bring Her Home

By Conor Pope | The Irish Times | June 12, 2020

Oliver James, an Irish citizen living in London, traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, in April to meet his newborn baby born to a surrogate. He has spent 8 weeks trying to get travel documents to return home, but it seems the no one has yet reviewed his paperwork. Without Irish recognition of James as father of the child (established through a paternity test), his funds running low, and risk of becoming homeless, he is desperate for the Irish embassy to help them get home soon.

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Spanish Parents Finally Reach Surrogate Baby in Ukraine

By Nick Connolly and Enrique Anarte | DW News | June 11, 2020

This video features the journey of a Spanish couple to meet their baby born to a surrogate one month prior in Ukraine, during the COVID-19 lockdown. The interviewer explains how they traveled over 10,000 kilometers from Madrid to Ukraine and back again after being turned away at the border due to insufficient documents. In order for their daughter to be recognized as a citizen in Spain, where surrogacy is illegal, the couple will likely have to go to court.

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