HOW COVID-19 IS AFFECTING UKRAINIAN SURROGACY: DELIVERING DREAMS’
We want to update you on the situation in Ukraine with Covid-19; how surrogacy in Ukraine is impacted by the virus and how we are handling the new risks to continue to provide healthy and successful surrogacy journeys.
Please understand these are very uncertain times and all dates mentioned are as of today, March 19, 2020, and may change as the situation develops.
SITUATION ON THE GROUND IN UKRAINE:
The first case of the Coronavirus in Kyiv on March 12th. It was someone who returned from Italy. On that date Ukraine took fast measures, installing a nationwide quarantine. All schools and shopping malls were closed.
Ukraine has closed its borders to anyone traveling from Europe or stopping in Europe on route to Ukraine. This will be in place until April 3rd.
On March 16th Ukraine closed the Metro, and intercity transportation until April 3rd. Domestic flights are grounded.
As of March 17th, there are 30 confirmed cases. It is believed this number is a low estimate, as many people are not coming forward and there are not enough testing kits.
The government declared a state of emergency in Radomyshl and Chernivtsi. Radomyshl is about 3 hours drive west from Kyiv In the Zytomir region. Chernivtsi region is in the far southwest of the country. Interestingly, they are not at all near each other.
The goal is the same as everywhere in the world: self-isolation. Groups have been limited to no more than 10 individuals.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
We have always known that the best way to ensure a healthy child for you is to guarantee the healthiest surrogates and donors. A surrogate or donor with even a normal cold or flu is a potential risk to your success.
The measures we have always had in place continue to protect our couples from COVID-19. We have experience dealing successfully with the mass measles outbreak. Our surrogacy selection process includes the following elements in addition to 50 medical tests to ensure their health:
- Ensuring that our surrogates and donors have strong and healthy immune systems
- Checking their health history
- Where they have lived and making sure they live in areas that have not been affected and have a degree of social isolation – not living in cities and densely populated areas.
- Making sure they have always had good nutrition, a healthy living and working environment to ensure the best immunity
- Educated smart surrogates and donors that understand the risks and responsibility of maintaining good health and hygiene and implement them vigorously
- Surrogates and donors that are accountable and responsible, sensible and trustworthy. This is essential to ensure that medications are taken exactly as necessary on a strict schedule and that health measures and virus prevention are followed.
- Surrogates with healthy families and children with no health or immunity issues
- We move our surrogates earlier than most to apartments near our clinic. Typically we move them in their 5th
- Those surrogates near our clinics are always in their own apartments. This imposes a social distancing we always thought was important for health reasons, but also provides a low stress environment.
- Personal around the clock doctor availability
- Constant check ins from our staff on our surrogates and donors
CORONAVIRUS’S DIRECT IMPACT ON SURROGACY IN UKRAINE AND ADDITIONAL MEASURES AS A RESULT OF THE VIRUS:
- Travel restrictions may not permit you to be at the birth and exit documentation may be delayed. We have taken contingencies to take care of your child and allow you to see the delivery and child virtually. Not the same, but the best we can do under the circumstances.
- We are working with Embassies on emergency actions to allow travel and child documentation. We are keeping in constant contact with them and preparing for births and solving the problems of parent and child travel and documentation.
- We are only screening and considering surrogates and donors from areas where there are no cases or quarantines.
- Educating Surrogates and Donors about virus and illness protection for themselves, their family and friends by proper hygiene, cleaning and social distancing
- Educating about the symptoms of coronavirus and ensuring they contact our doctors immediately if symptoms arise for assistance
- Anyone planning on traveling to start IVF stimulation or to donate sperm should delay travel until this crisis has passed. This is not only to avoid travel problems, but to prevent exposure and the stress that can affect your fertility. Our recommendation is that you cryopreserve your biological material so that it can be shipped later.
- No Intended Parent should donate if they have any symptoms or think they may have come in contact with someone with the Coronavirus. It is best to be overly cautious.
- Shipping of biological material was banned to and from all highly effected areas. Now with the new rules limiting travel, shipping from most countries are on hold. At this point, shipping from the US can only resume after April 12th and Europe after April 3rd. This is subject to country by country regulations and could well change as the situation develops. Peter Hura of CryoArk a specialty shipping company, says the company has made a decision to halt shipping in the face of constantly changing situation to protect against and potential dangers to shipments, and couriers.
- According to ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) there have been no adverse effects from women who tested positive for Covid-19 on their children. The children have been negative for the virus. However, these results are not scientific and as so little is known, pregnancy should be avoided. Therefore, we are cancelling all egg retrievals and transfers until April 12th to be very careful. This is also the recommendation of the European ESHRE association.
- We are replacing any surrogate or donor with any potential illness, should it be coronavirus or a cold or flu, at no expense to couples for a new donor and surrogate that meets your criteria and requested characteristics.
WHAT IS GOING ON AS NORMAL?
- We continue to screen donors and surrogates within the limitations above
- The first step of preparing documents for your surrogacy and acceptance into the Ukrainian surrogacy program
- You can choose your surrogate and donor so you will be ready to start as soon as possible.
Please contact me at any time with any questions.
Stay healthy, Susan
Company name: Delivering Dreams International Surrogacy Agency
Name: Susan Kibler
Tel.: +1 908 386 3864
Tel: +380 32 253-7541