It has emerged that nearly 50 infants waiting to be delivered to their foreign would-be parents are stuck in Ukraine’s capital due to border closures, adding to worries about the country becoming a supplier of surrogate babies.
The news, broken by a handful of local media outlets, revolves around a video appeal issued by Biotexcom, which describes itself as a “center for human reproduction.” It shows 46 newborn babies lying in their cradles at a hotel called ‘Venice’ or being taken care of by the clinical staff.
Foster parents, the clinic lamented, “do not have the opportunity to pick up their newborns” as borders remain shut and lockdowns enforced because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t worry about “these sweeties,” as nurses regularly feed them and expose them to fresh air.
Would-be parents come from the US, China, Britain, Germany and other countries, one of the caregivers reveals in the video. The widely shared footage had been doing the rounds on social media until it reached Lyudmila Denisova, the parliamentary ombudsman in charge of children’s rights.
Also sharing the offbeat video, the official rang the alarm about the “mass and systemic” problem. Surrogate motherhood is advertised and marketed as a “high-quality product,” but offering such “services” can lead primarily to children’s rights abuse, Denisova warned.
The news suggests that the government isn’t doing enough to safeguard its people, just as Ukraine “becomes a country which donors its newborn children to foreigners and can’t [decide] their fate,” she argued.
Surrogacy isn’t explicitly prohibited by Ukraine’s legislation, effectively lying in a legal gray zone. Those behind the business of newborn babies could stand accused of human trafficking under relevant laws, but officials seem unable to shrink the country’s booming surrogate motherhood industry.
What’s more, scandalous cases like this pop up in local media coverage from time to time. Weeks ago, Ukrainian police raided a private reproductive clinic that has been allegedly “selling babies” to Chinese males.
Aspiring parents had to pay around $50,000 to arrange for the artificial insemination of a surrogate mom, as well as the legal services and fictive marriages needed to facilitate smuggling children abroad.