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Wednesday, 05 August 2020 11:12

As surrogacy booms, fears Ukraine becoming 'online baby store'

Tears of joy stream down Andrea Viez's face as she lifts her baby boy, born to a surrogate mother in Ukraine.

"He's a star," the Argentinian in her late 40s says, her voice trembling.

After nine years of trying to have a child, Viez can finally hold her son in her arms, thanks to a booming surrogacy industry in Ukraine that has given hope to thousands of struggling would-be parents.

But behind their dream-come-true is a highly profitable and murky business that many worry is taking advantage of desperate young women and operating in a grey zone open to abuse.

"Ukraine is becoming an international online baby store," the country's commissioner for children's rights Mykola Kuleba warned last month, condemning the "exploitation" of Ukrainian women and calling for a ban on the industry.

The fact that Ukraine is one of the few countries allowing commercial surrogacy for foreigners was oddly thrown into the spotlight by the coronavirus.

When travel restrictions imposed to fight the pandemic prevented dozens of parents from picking up their children born to surrogates, a local surrogacy company posted a video online showing the infants lying in rows of plastic cots in a hotel on the edge of Kiev.

The BioTexCom clinic hoped to draw attention to the stranded babies' plight. It worked and the government stepped in to help parents like Viez obtain special permits and pick up their children a few weeks later.

Though it has existed since the early 2000s, the industry exploded in Ukraine after India and Thailand outlawed commercial surrogacy for foreigners about five years ago.

One the poorest countries in Europe, the post-Soviet nation is also known for its attractive prices, with birth through a surrogate costing about $42,000. In the United States it can cost more than twice as much.

'Total chaos'

There are no official statistics, but experts say between 2,500 and 3,000 children are born every year through surrogacy in Ukraine for foreign parents. About a third of customers are Chinese.

The industry is poorly regulated and rife with abuse and corruption, says Sergiy Antonov, who runs a law firm specialising in reproductive issues.

Women are sometimes not paid promised amounts or are housed in terrible conditions during the later stages of their pregnancies. In some cases parents have discovered they have no genetic link with children born to surrogates.

Authorities suspect some clinics are also using surrogacy as a cover for illegal commercial adoptions.

"It's total chaos," Antonov says.

Olga Korsunova, a 27-year-old going through her fourth surrogate pregnancy, says women "very often" have trouble obtaining money they were promised.

They are most often hired through intermediaries who keep part of the surrogacy fee.

Korsunova is paid $400 a month during a pregnancy and receives $15,000 after delivery.

"I would not call this exploitation, nobody forces us," she says in the modest flat she rents in Kiev with her eight-year-old son.

Korsunova dreams of becoming a doctor but started working as a surrogate after she and her son fled war-torn eastern Ukraine in 2014.

She does admit that because of their drastic financial situation Ukrainian women "trade part of your health... for money."

Another surrogate, 26-year-old Olga, says she is happy to be able to help people have children.

"These children will be loved by their parents for the rest of their lives," says Olga, who is expecting twins for a Chinese couple.

She normally earns about $135 a month as a waitress and this is her second surrogacy. She hopes to open a cafe with her payment of $15,000 after delivery.

"I'm proud to be able to provide babies to people who couldn't become parents in a different way," she says.

"But if I had a normal job, of course I wouldn't have done it."

Source: https://www.livemint.com/

Learn More About International Surrogacy In Ukraine:

Delivering Dreams helps couples throughout the world struggling with infertility have children. Located in NJ and Kyiv and Lviv, Ukraine, our amazing medical facilities and professionals, surrogates and donors are in Ukraine, because Ukrainian law protects the rights of parents and their children from inception at affordable costs and high success rates.

Unique to Delivering Dreams, we offer guaranteed not to exceed, all-inclusive pricing and contracts under US law to provide prospective parents legal and financial security.1 in 6 couples are struggling with infertility. 

You are not alone. We want to be your path to parenthood. 

Would you like to learn more? 

Please contact us to share your challenges, ask questions and discuss solutions about best surrogacy programs

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.Delivering-Dreams.com and www.international-surrogacy.com, 1.908.386.3864

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Susan has a keen sense of business and goes to the max to solve her clients’ problems. She is super knowledgeable on business, laws and how things work in surrogacy in general, and specifically on Ukrainian surrogacy. She is an advocate for transparency in a market that’s often opaque and full of hidden risks. I really enjoyed working with Susan. She really pays attention to detail and was always looking out for my best interest above all. Highly recommend!
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Delivering Dreams goes above and beyond what other surrogacy agencies offer. After speaking with Susan, I see how they anticipate every part of the process, down to details that I had never even considered. I didn’t know what I didn’t know! Surrogacy can be really complicated and confusing. What an amazing sense of relief to have a company so dedicated to managing the WHOLE process and taking away as much of the stress as possible.
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I have gotten to know Susan through a group where we are members. I have found her to be a genuine and caring person. Her consideration for others and love of her work with Ukrainian surrogates and parents-to-be are evident in all her decision making. She is passionate about being a force for the greater good and helping where she can. I have been amazed at the way she is able to smoothly navigate the complicated maze of requirements in the surrogacy process. I am happy to give her my highest...
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Under Ukrainian law, surrogacy is a legal affordable option for traditionally married couples to have children using their own embryos, or with either an egg or sperm donor. There must be a medical reason you can’t carry a child. You are also able to participate if you have had 4 unsuccessful IVF attempts.

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Under Ukrainian law, surrogacy is a legal affordable option for traditionally married couples to have children using their own embryos, or with either an egg or sperm donor. There must be a medical reason you can’t carry a child. You are also able to participate if you have had 4 unsuccessful IVF attempts.