If it seems like every option has failed, maybe it’s time to think outside of the box, or even outside your own country.
Talk to just about any woman who has dealt with the tragedies and triumphs of infertility and they will tell you the same thing. Struggling with infertility is a difficult journey to navigate. Following multiple doctors’ visits, diagnostic testing sessions, and treatments, it can also put a heavy strain on finances. Once surrogacy has become a viable option, it is usually one of the last available. Many women find their emotional and financial reserves reaching a critical low.
Surrogacy is the process through which a woman that cannot medically carry a child of her own safely, can have a child that is carried by another woman. Most countries that allow surrogacy require that it be medically proven that a woman cannot safely carry her own child. To be able to secure that medical validation, it’s first required that a woman goes through a series of different tests and treatments. Many of which can be exhausting, painful, or expensive – if not all three. So by the time most women are faced with the choice of surrogacy, they feel like their options are already severely limited. Which is encouraging some families to look abroad for better choices.
Surrogacy in Ukraine
For about the last decade, many families from all over the world have been looking toward the Ukraine for their surrogacy needs. Even more since 2015, when popular countries for surrogacy based tourism, like Thailand and India, were forced to impose new prohibiting laws amidst reports of misconduct. Ukraine offers many the opportunity to begin a family at a fraction of the cost that they would expect to pay in other countries, as well as a few other unexpected perks.
Laws concerning surrogacy in the Ukraine tend to be incredibly favorable for the genetic parents of the child. Including naming the genetic parents solely on the child’s birth certificate, unlimited IVF attempts, ease of travel, excellent health facilities, available donor materials, as well as access to novel scientific procedures, such as preimplantation diagnosis or cryobanking facilities.
Not to mention the enjoyment of a much needed holiday. Ukraine is home to beautiful scenery and pristine turn of the century architecture that can be enjoyed during the process. These perks, along with quite a few others, have seen prospective parents flocking to the Eastern European country in drives, but some have raised concerns regarding the ethical practice of some surrogate businesses.
Media outlets and multiple news organizations have reported whispers and rumors of mistreatment and exploitation of surrogate mothers. Because of the low employment availability in Ukraine, some are concerned that these programs are recruiting poor women with few other options to gain wages.
Reports of poor healthcare and treatment of the mothers that are carrying the child are not difficult to find either. Although Ukraine has strict guidelines on who can qualify to become a surrogate mother, some sources have reported a lax oversight in enforcing these laws. Incidences of women going unpaid for their contribution, following complications with the pregnancy abound.
With such a lucrative market, embedded in one of Europe’s poorest countries, “Black market” surrogate transactions can also be procured. Reportedly, some women will market the use of their wombs over internet sites similar to the US Craigslist. Angling to take advantage of well-meaning couples who don’t know better, or can’t afford to.
Furthermore, there have also been stories of couples being stranded once their child has been born, unable to return to their homes due to immigration concerns over the child’s citizenship status. One French couple was detained after attempting to smuggle their Ukrainian surrogate born twin girls back into their home country. As the French government doesn’t recognize surrogacy and refused to issue the children passports, the couple acted out of extreme desperation.
As if these stories weren’t terrifying enough, some officials have concerns that the governmental and regulatory agencies that oversee the surrogacy business are woefully understaffed and will struggle to keep up with the ever growing demand.
Following the discovery of these horror stories and many like them, it’s a wonder that any couple seeks out surrogacy within Ukraine. But, the high numbers of potential parents seeking treatment, along with the number of glowing success stories lead us to believe that it may not be as sinister as some would make it out to be.
There are unquestionably a number of highly qualified clinics in the Ukraine, that operate with transparency and integrity. One such clinic has been recognized by Forbes for their outstanding innovation. Ilaya is a clinic that helps families throughout the world realize their dreams of parenthood through surrogacy programs in Ukraine. “Unfortunately, I think that you can find stories of exploitation in surrogacy no matter which country you are looking at.” Says Ilaya. “Not unlike any other medical procedure, it’s incredibly important that prospective parents pay close attention and do their research thoroughly before settling on a clinic. It’s necessary that parents find a provider, team, and surrogate that they are comfortable and happy with.”
Ilaya has been providing surrogacy services through the Ukraine, alongside many other fertility treatments, for years. As have an number of others. Intended parents must ensure that whatever clinic they choose, is one that not only fits their budgets, but also aligns itself with local and international laws. Ukrainian officials strongly caution any hopeful parents in attempting to achieve a surrogate born child without the use of a clinic and strong legal team.
Despite its friendly laws and small price tag, surrogacy in Ukraine doesn’t seem to make the choice any less complicated or anxiety inducing, but Ukraine does offer parents the hope of a better future, and that’s priceless. Infertility undoubtedly takes its toll on a number of different facets of a family’s life, but it’s worth every agonizing moment when it’s the thing you want most in the world.