Surrogacy During the War in Ukraine

Updated June 22, 2022

See Ukraine as International Surrogacy Destination for context on the surrogacy industry in Ukraine

The Russian war on Ukraine is having a devastating effect on millions of people and the country’s infrastructure and land. One lesser-known area of anguish is the impact on newborn surrogacy-born babies, surrogates and their families, and the babies’ parents from other countries. Ukraine is one of the largest hubs for international surrogacy in the world, second only to the United States. Minimal regulation and low cost make it a popular destination for foreign couples—though only available to married heterosexual couples—and economic hardship gives rise to more women willing to provide surrogacy services. This roundup of stories presents two analyses (The Atlantic and BioNews) regarding the invisibility of surrogates in media coverage and the unequal options and resources available to commissioning parents vs surrogates in Ukraine; it also includes a number of stories of harrowing and dangerous situations for infants, surrogates, and new or soon-to-be parents.

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India Banned Commercial Surrogacy. Now, Parents are Flocking to Georgia, a Rare Nation Where It’s Legal – and Relatively Cheap.

Charu Sudan Kasturi | Business Insider | June 8, 2022

India’s commercial surrogacy ban may be driving intended parents to Georgia, where commercial surrogacy is not only legal but also relatively inexpensive. Georgia’s laws also favor intended parents, because the surrogate has no legal parentage rights to the child.

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Desperately Seeking Surrogates

Danielle Braff | The New York Times | April 2, 2022

The pandemic introduced new disconnects between surrogate and biological parents, including vaccine mandates, unemployment, and travel bans. As a result, there has been a 60% decrease in potential surrogates, doubled wait times, and significantly increased fees. 

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Irish Parents of Babies Born Through Surrogacy Face €88-a-day Fee for ‘Nanny’ Care if They Can’t Travel to Ukraine

Laura Lynott | Independent.ie | February 13, 2022

14 babies were born to surrogates between May 2021 and present-day in Ukraine, which is currently under threat of invasion by Russian military forces. The Irish intended parents, advised against  traveling to Ukraine under the current circumstances, may need to pay 88 Euros a day for nannies to care for their children.

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‘Surrogacy is Absolutely What I Want to Do’

Jo Deahl | BBC News | September 22, 2021

Current law in the United Kingdom states that the surrogate is the legal mother when the child is born, and that legal parentage must be transferred through a parental order. Because the law also outlaws surrogacy advertisements, intended parents have turned to social media to find surrogacy matches, especially since non-profit organizations have long waiting lists. Both government officials and those who have started families through surrogacy agree that UK surrogacy law needs to be updated.

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Israel’s High Court Rules Against Surrogacy Law Excluding Single Men and Gay Couples

By Netael Bandel, Lee Yaron, and Johnathan Lis | Haaretz | February 28, 2020

For years, LGBTQ rights advocates in Israel have been fighting to broaden surrogacy rights. On February 20th, the High Court of Justice ruled that an existing bill prohibiting single men and gay couples from accessing surrogacy was unconstitutional. As this article explains, the state now has one year to amend the law.

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Parents Via Surrogacy Can Experience Postpartum Depression, Doc Shows

By Morgan Brinlee | Romper | October 25, 2019

A new documentary from Independent Lens called Made in Boise tells the stories of four Idaho women who act as surrogates and the intended parents who compensate them for carrying pregnancies. As this article and video clip explain, one of the surprises in the documentary is the revelation that some intended parents experience postpartum depression after the births of their babies.

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What to Know Before Your Surrogacy Journey

By David Dodge | New York Times Parenting | October 11, 2019

This primer for intended parents offers a basic overview of surrogacy terms and concepts, and a realistic look at the financial, emotional, and legal issues they can expect to encounter during a surrogacy journey.

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Podcast: Misconceptions

Misconceptions
By Reveal | The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX | Sept. 15, 2018

Originally broadcast in June 2017, around the 40th anniversary of in vitro fertilization, this podcast follows a couple that “puts its trust in a fertility clinic that promises more than it can deliver.” It explores the world of fertility treatment and the clinics and intended parents it brings together with promises of forming families.

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Article: Spanish Couples Undergoing Surrogacy Processes Left in Legal Limbo in Ukraine

Spanish Couples Undergoing Surrogacy Processes Left in Legal Limbo in Ukraine
By Silvia Blanco | El País | Aug. 31, 2018

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.

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