Despite the efforts of some media outlets, the surrogacy boom in Ukraine continues unfettered.
Many media outlets throughout the world have contended that the surrogacy practices within the Ukraine may be fraught with suspicious activity and possible exploitation. Despite these reports, parents remain undeterred in their quest to complete their families. Is it because couples are willing to turn a blind eye to possible misconduct and mistreatment of poor and needy women? Or are news sources just getting it wrong?
While it’s likely that neither is true, regardless of any less than fuzzy reception by the media- parents are still enjoying surrogacy programs in Ukraine at an all-time high. With mostly positive reviews. In a BBC article, they mention that many of Ukraine’s more prestigious clinics are operating in good faith to women and with transparency. The article mentions, in passing, Ilaya, a Ukraine surrogacy clinic with an incredible reputation. “I don’t think that we are necessarily an outlier,” Says a representative for the clinic, “while we do offer some unique and novel treatments and programs that may help set us apart from other clinics in Ukraine, I don’t believe we are operating outside of the norm when it comes to the representation of all of our clients.”
In the Media
Media has historically and consistently portrayed surrogacy arrangements as largely nefarious, making it genuinely difficult for couples that have few options when choosing to start a family of their own. However, these portrayals have led to some important exposes that resulted in entire countries needing to change national policy on surrogacy laws. In 2014, following what can only be described as every surrogate and intended parents nightmare– Thailand shut down their commercial surrogacy programs to any foreign national.
Following a barrage of media coverage citing exploitation a poor medical care for surrogates, India closed their programs in 2015. Giving credence to concerns over surrogate welfare and misconduct as reported by the media. However, despite reports describing nefarious conduct in Ukraine, the business is still booming. Low cost and Westernized medical practices see more than 2,500 babies born via surrogate in the country each year. Intended parents have no need to become waitlisted as surrogate mothers are available in abundance. The country also has legislation in place that specifically outlines qualifying guidelines for surrogate mothers as well as medical care that they must have access to.
Why Parents Are Still Choosing Ukraine Surrogacy
Ukraine consistently sees higher numbers of surrogate babies born each year for a number of reasons. Many of which point to the “surrogate friendly” laws that have been in place since the early 2000’s. Ease of travel, low cost treatment and accommodation, novel medical practice, and a real need for employment all keep surrogates and intended parents coming into Ukraine by the thousands each year. Supporters of the industry contend that exploitative practices can be flounder in almost any industry, in almost any country, should purveyors and participants alike not do their due diligence. Propaganda throughout the country strongly cautions both surrogates and intended parents to ensure that they use the appropriate channels before becoming part of an agreement.
With legislators and enforcers of these laws stretched thin, it’s impossible for them to strongly regulate all online and “back alley” deals in surrogacy. “If you look, you will always find the underbelly of industry” says one such official, who prefers to remain nameless. Despite the suggestion that most arrangements conducted in the Ukraine are exploitative, securing a “Craigslist” surrogate is surprisingly difficult to do, specifically as a foreign national.
A Final Word of Warning
As a couple that is not a native, it’s understandable that they may not fully understand the laws, culture, and standards of living within any given country. It’s important that any couple considering surrogacy go through the appropriate channels, take the time to fully understand the legal framework, and get to know both their agency providers and the surrogate they plan on using. Reading reviews and having a good grasp on laws and agency specific ethics are a great place to start.
So while it’s important that intended parents do their homework, prior to engaging in any arrangement, it’s not unheard of that securing a surrogacy in Ukraine will go smoothly for both parties. While torn, there is coverage on both the failures and the triumphs of the system. So, while a word of caution may still be merited to any family considering using Ukraine to complete their family unit, it is an option that still deserves to be properly and independently explored.