Whose Children? The Problem Of Surrogate Wombs In Ukraine

In recent years, Ukraine has become a destination for couples looking for a surrogacy. However, the war has made several dilemmas about surrogate motherhood evident. We tell you about this crisis.

pregnant woman

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LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: ¿Hijos de quién? el problema de los vientres de alquiler en Ucrania

Newborn babies abandoned in hospitals, pregnant women trying to cross borders safely and desperate couples, millions of miles away, trying to find their babies, whom they have not yet met. This is the scenario that the conflict in Ukraine is leaving for families who have decided to opt for surrogate motherhood to have a child.

In Ukraine, commercial surrogacy has been legal since 2000 for married heterosexuals. In addition, it is cheaper than in countries like the United States. For this reason, it has become a leading country in this type of process. In addition to Ukraine, in some states of the United States and Canada, and in Greece, Georgia, and Russia it is also legal, according to Growing Families , an international organization that works on the issue.

One of the biggest companies to do these processes is called BioTexCom . According to their official information, they have about 3,000 clients a year from countries such as China, Germany, England, Ireland or Argentina. However, the war and the bombings have put pregnant women, babies and parents in a very delicate situation.

The phenomenon is so important in the country that even Minister Simon Coveney spoke about it in one of his first speeches, assuring that diplomatic dialogues had been established (in this case with Ireland) to "guarantee that the families that have been involved in surrogacy in the last few days can safely come home".

What are the dilemmas with surrogate motherhood?

Today, due to the war, this has become a crisis that has emphasized the legal and moral dilemmas discussed by experts on this subject. In fact, it poses a great irony because a couple could say "it's their body, but my baby is inside". In this sense, women have the autonomy to decide on their own lives, but not on the life of the baby they are carrying . In fact, in surrogacy contracts, clauses can be established about what the woman can or cannot do. And it is logical that parents want the best health and safety conditions for their babies.

However, to what extent can transactions and agreements be made with life and liberty? Newspapers from all over the world have reviewed in recent days the journeys that parents are making to find their babies. However, many gaps remain.

With the borders closed and the situation dangerous, it is impossible for parents to “pick up” their children. Meanwhile, the babies are being left in a complex situation regarding their nationality status and who is responsible for them. “The law in Ukraine specifically states that the baby belongs to the intended parents and the surrogate mother has no prenatal rights,” notes Growing Families. However, if they move to other territories, the legislation may be different and would pose an extra challenge for expectant mothers and fathers, leaving babies in limbo.

The BioTexCom company has reported that it built an emergency bomb shelter in its fertility clinic to protect babies born in the middle of the war. It also ensures that nurses take care of 24 of the newborns. This is how hundreds of children are waiting in shelters, trapped in a war, for their parents to arrive.

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The truth is that this situation is leaving more questions than answers about surrogacy. What would happen if a mother fails to save herself and carries another couple's child in her womb? Considering that there is a commercial transaction in the middle, the picture seems quite confusing.

Also, pregnant women have children and, of course, family. Therefore, it is not so easy to ask them to move to a safe territory to protect the baby in their womb, while leaving their families in a territory at war. So, the interests of the surrogate mothers and those of the "client" fathers do not always coincide, but there are contracts and money in between.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world there are still many legal loopholes regarding surrogacy. It is true that it can be an opportunity for couples to have a child. However, it is also true that the women who lend their wombs tend to be low-income and in a state of vulnerability. Therefore, this crisis in Ukraine calls on legislators from other countries to seriously consider this issue and address it comprehensively, as it is a growing challenge. For its part, in Latin America, countries such as Mexico, Panama or Colombia are promoted as destinations for surrogacy, despite the fact that not in all states (in the case of Mexico) or in the country itself it is a regulated or legal practice.

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