Trafficking in Newborns: Police Expose Scheme Involving Sham Marriage, Surrogacy Services

Staff | Ukraine Form | August 17, 2021

The National Police Chief of Ukraine discusses an ongoing investigation of a criminal group that trafficked in newborns under the guise of a surrogacy agency. A clinic chief arranged for foreign men to enter sham marriages and surrogacy arrangements with Ukrainian women; the men were then allowed to transport the surrogate-born children to East Asia. The police released three newborns to social services during the investigation, but at least 13 others had already been sent out of Ukraine. The chief expects more groups to be exposed and believes legislation is “too soft,” calling for lawmaker involvement.

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US Couple Withdraws Legal Action Against ABC Over Claim They Abandoned Surrogate Child With a Disability

Australian Associated Press | The Guardian | July 27, 2021

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation covered a story about a couple’s surrogacy arrangement in a 2019 article about Ukraine’s commercial surrogacy industry. The couple sued ABC for allegedly portraying them as heartless parents who abandoned their surrogate-born, disabled child Bridget in Ukraine. This June, the couple withdrew their defamation case due to a lack of funds, but will still be asked to pay ABC’s legal costs.   

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Poor Legal Regulation Threatens Health of Ukraine’s Egg Donors

Kate Baklitskaya and Magdalena Chodownik | New Eastern Europe | March 15, 2021

This article highlights the need for stricter regulation of surrogacy and egg donation in Ukraine and Poland, underscored by additional risks presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Early travel bans left many newborns stranded in Ukraine, and the current economic decline may be motivating more women to sell their eggs for extra income. However, Ukraine and Poland have not developed legislation to protect egg donors’ safety and privacy.

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Lack of Regulation and COVID-19 Leaves Ukrainian Surrogate Mothers and Babies in Limbo

Kate Baklitskaya, Magalena Chodownik | New Easter Europe | December 24, 2020

This article is a comprehensive piece detailing how surrogacy practices in the already unregulated Ukraine have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The difficulties in protecting the rights of both Ukrainian surrogates and children are highlighted, along with the illegal practice of moving surrogates across the Polish border to arrange childbirth inside the EU. Human rights activists in Ukraine and Poland are calling for regulation of the surrogacy industry in both countries.

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Mothers, Babies Stranded in Ukraine Surrogacy Industry

By Maria Varenikova | The New York Times | August 15, 2020

This article describes a disturbing situation in the Ukrainian surrogacy industry. Surrogates hired by foreign couples are sent by agencies to Northern Cyprus to circumvent restrictions for same-sex couples or for sex selection. Alarming reports reveal required C-sections and poor medical care, leading to one infant death. As surrogates raced to return home before the Ukrainian border closed and intended parents were unable to reach their children, newborns have been stranded and left with ambiguous legal parentage.

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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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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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Argentine Couple Finally Meet Son Born to Surrogate Mother

By Abdujalil Abdurasulov and Hanna Chornous | BBC | June 11, 2020

In this video, BBC follows Jose and Flavia as they arrive in Ukraine from Argentina during the COVID-19 pandemic to finally meet their son, born to a surrogate 10 weeks before. The video also highlights the problematic nature of the surrogacy industry by featuring the story of Bridget, conceived 4 years prior at the same clinic, but whose US parents abandoned her when she was born with serious health problems.

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Surrogacy, Assisted Reproduction, and COVID: Stark Problems, Underlying Concerns

By Emily Galpern | Center for Genetics and Society | May 27, 2020

This blogpost provides an overview of the numerous unsettling situations that have arisen since COVID-19 changed the landscape of assisted reproduction and international surrogacy.  It shows how the pandemic is illuminating pre-existing problems related to assisted reproduction and surrogacy, highlights the need for stronger regulations, and calls for input from all who will be affected.

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Assisted Reproductive Medicine in Ukraine Needs Legislative Regulation

Interfax-Ukraine | May 19, 2020

Olena Babych, a lawyer specializing in the field of reproductive law in Ukraine, calls for legislative regulation of assisted reproductive medicine in Ukraine, in particular surrogacy. Heads of the Ukrainian Association of Reproductive Medicine report that a corresponding bill has been submitted to Parliament addressing assisted reproduction overall. Efforts are also underway to allow parents to come into Ukraine to pick up children born through surrogacy who are stranded in facilities because of travel restrictions due to COVID-19.

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