As Ukraine transforms into a desirable hub for international commercial surrogacy, concerns are emerging. This article – like others found here – touches on irregularities and poor quality of care at fertility clinics, and focuses on the 30 Spanish intended parents unable to obtain passports from the Spanish Consulate in Kiev for their children amidst fears of the trafficking of minors.
In an update from The Guardian, the government also charged the thirty-three gestational mothers under the same law – they were not charged initially – raising potential questions about the use of regulation related to human trafficking on surrogacy.
These arrests are not the first. After Cambodia announced a ban on commercial surrogacy in 2016 while legislation was being considered, an Australian nurse and two Cambodian assistants were convicted of running an illegal commercial surrogacy clinic in the country. They were later sentenced to one and a half years in prison.
This update from Cambodia covers recent attempts to regulate surrogacy in the country, citing government representatives concerned about the impact of the practice on human trafficking.
With a push towards altruistic surrogacy – and an offer from UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith to help the Cambodian government formulate a law – the article also touches on questions about the potential effectiveness and drawbacks of arrangements that are not commercial. It quotes Rodrigo Montero, gender specialist at the UN Development Program, who states that “altruistic surrogacy does not exist, it is a euphemism” and “in countries where ‘altruistic’ surrogacy is allowed we see that large amounts of money are always involved.”
In a saga that started in 2014, one of the richest men in Japan has just been granted custody of children he commissioned from Thai gestational mothers. In its ruling, the central juvenile court “found the father had no history of bad behaviour and would provide for the children’s happiness.”
This case first came to light in the regulatory upheaval following the case of Baby Gammy in Thailand, and resulted in the country’s eventual ban on international commercial surrogacy. It continues to raise questions as, according to Sam Everingham, a director of the Australia-based consultancy Families Through Surrogacy, an example of “an unacceptable abuse of the limited pool of gestational surrogates globally” and, more broadly, the ethics of a practice that does not protect the rights of the women and children involved.