At least 100 babies recently born to surrogate mothers are now “stranded” in Ukraine, as coronavirus restrictions prevent them from leaving the country.
Ukraine is one of the few countries that allows foreigners to use their women as surrogate mothers. As a result, there are at least 50 surrogacy clinics in the country, many of which cater to American, European, Chinese, and South American couples.
The country’s Latin rite and Ukrainian Greek Catholic bishops on May 15 called for an end to the practice, decrying surrogacy as a phenomenon whereby “persons are treated as a commodity that can be ordered, manufactured and sold.”
“Every child is a gift of God that should be gratefully accepted in the marriage of a man and a woman,” the bishops said in a joint statement.
“Every child has the right to be conceived naturally, and every child has the right to be born into a family and to be brought up in the atmosphere of love by father and mother. Surrogacy severely violates this right and makes it impossible for Ukraine to follow the path of development, the path of a great European heritage.”
In March, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ukraine imposed a ban on foreigners entering the country, unless there is a specific request from the relevant embassy, Reuters reports.
A now-viral video, recently posted online by BioTexCom, the country’s largest surrogacy agency, shows nearly 50 babies being cared for in a large hotel room in Kyiv, with an uncertain future.
“[The video] shows an improvised children’s room and 46 crying babies, deprived of maternal touch, parental warmth, selfless care, much-needed love, but are seen as a purchased product for which the buyer did not come. Such a demonstration of contempt for the human person and his dignity is unacceptable. And all this is possible due to legalized surrogacy,” the bishops said.
Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman told Aljazeera on May 15 that the number of waiting babies will likely grow to “thousands” if travel restrictions continue.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, reports emerged of at least one baby born via surrogacy in Ukraine abandoned by the Americans who intended to raise her.
A surrogate mother at BioTexCom can expect to be paid $15,000-$17,000 for carrying a child.
“The practice of surrogacy, its subject, purpose and means of achievement are morally unacceptable…the commercial basis of surrogacy from a moral point of view deserves an even harsher assessment, because it adds the moral evil of buying and selling the functions of the body and the person of the new-born child,” the bishops continued.
“No circumstances or consequences can justify the practice of surrogacy.”
The Ukrainian ombudswoman suggested changing the country’s laws to only allow Ukrainian couples to use Ukraine’s surrogacy services.
The bishops went a step further, calling for a ban on all surrogacy in the country and noting that the European Parliament has on several occasions “unequivocally condemned the practice of surrogacy” as “exploitation” of women “since her body and its reproductive functions are used as a commodity.”
They called on Ukrainian authorities to take steps to help Ukrainian families so that women need not resort to surrogacy as a source of income.
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