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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Three, Single Gay Dads Reflect on Fatherhood, Surrogacy Journeys

Alana Wise | NPR | June 19, 2022

NPR covers the stories of three single, gay men who became fathers through surrogacy and their journey there

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An Actor’s Use of a Surrogate Raises Radical-Feminist Questions

Alyssa Rosenberg | The Washington Post | June 15, 2022

Actress Jamie Chung explained that she and her partner chose surrogacy because she didn’t “want to lose opportunities.” The author of this opinion piece feels Chung’s perspective echoes radical feminist Shulamith Firestone, who believed that biology imprisoned women.

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Wombs For Rent: The Legalization of Commercial Surrogacy

Reed Pence, Taina Bien-Aimé, Dr. Linda Kahn, and Ashley Mareko | Radio Health Journal | June 12, 2022

This Radio Health Journal episode showcases three voices in surrogacy policy and practice. The Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women argues that surrogacy is exploitative and can lead to human trafficking. A New York University professor discusses increased risks for pregnancy complications. A three-time surrogate and employee at a surrogacy agency asserts that company policies can safeguard parties in surrogacy arrangements. With no federal surrogacy laws in place, this is a dangerous road to traverse.

Listen to the podcast here ->

Israel’s Openly Gay Health Minister Talks Conversion Therapies, Surrogacy and Religion

Ravit Hecht | Haaretz | June 8, 2022

Israel’s openly gay Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz comments on the new law legalizing surrogacy for gay male couples in Israel. He maintains that surrogacy should be equally accessible for all, with safeguards against exploitation. 

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Wartime Labour: How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Has Exposed the Reality of the Surrogacy Industry

Anna Feigenbaum | Globe and Mail | May 20, 2022

The war in Ukraine not only illuminates the complexities inherent in international surrogacy, but also requires us to confront broader issues raised by this form of reproduction: how to prevent exploitation of women on the one hand while simultaneously ensuring women have bodily autonomy, and how we think about parenthood, genetic connection, and race and reproduction.

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Couple Face Belarus Prison and Loss of Surrogate Child Amid UK Visa Delays

Matthew Weaver | The Guardian | May 10, 2022

A couple intending to enter into a surrogacy arrangement in Belarus is facing imprisonment because their travel visa is going to expire, but they cannot leave the country because the wife’s passport is stuck in an administrative backlog in the UK. 

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Does Money Affect the Morality of Surrogacy?

J.Y. Lee | Medical Ethics | April 11, 2022

Ethical concerns of commercial surrogacy include exploitation of women and commodification of women’s reproductive capacity. Many countries ban commercial surrogacy to take money out of the equation, but this may oversimplify the virtues and morality of surrogacy arrangements.

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Vaccines Drive Up Surrogacy Costs For Some Families

Rochelle Alleyne | ABC Action News | April 6, 2022

Following the disruptive travel bans, the COVID-19 pandemic is posing another challenge for the fertility industry. Many surrogates don’t want to get  a vaccine, causing some intended parents to pay more and wait longer to find a vaccinated surrogate.

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First Baby Born via Surrogacy to Same-sex Couple in Northern Ireland

Blair Sowry | BioNews | February 21, 2022

For the first time, a baby has been born via surrogacy to a gay couple in North Ireland. The couple is now trying to register their child’s name under both of their names, which would set another precedent for LGBTQ couples in the country. 

Watch a video of the couple on ITV News here ->

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