Prospective parents from all over the world flock to the small nations borders each year with hope. But are the laws really as protective as they say?
Outside of the prohibitive cost, thousands of hopeful couples find themselves looking to Ukraine surrogacy programs for another reason: the country’s surrogacy friendly laws. While public officials in the country stress that these laws are inclusive and well written, others aren’t sure they’re enough to prevent the myriad of concerns regarding exploitation of both surrogates and intended parents alike.
However, when looking into these laws, it may be difficult to see how anyone could work around them. Ukraine is one country in a sparse handful throughout the world that has laws allowing for commercial surrogacy. Superficially, the laws seem to provide excellent framework for not only the parents seeking a child of their own, but also for the surrogates who are willing to provide their bodies and time to make it happen.
Ukraine Surrogacy Laws
To walk us through the laws that tightly govern surrogacy agencies in the country, we contacted a prominent provider of these services. Ilaya has been providing Ukraine surrogacy clients with modern and innovative reproductive medicine since 2011. “While the laws regarding the specific standards and processes of Ukraine surrogacy programs are incredibly strict, they also allow for a degree of innovation and modernization that isn’t necessarily seen elsewhere.” A spokesperson tells us.
The Ukraine allows intended parents novel practice, such as unlimited IVF cycles, as well as the allowance for donor materials- including embryo adoption. There is no age limit on the applicable intended parents, as long as they are found to be in good health. The country also allows for commercial surrogacy, which makes it possible for the surrogate mother to be compensated for her time and hard work.
By law, any potential surrogate must pass a number of mental and physical health requirements. Surrogate mothers are generally required to be at least 21 years of age and have already had one natural child of their own with no complications. The law also goes on the address the requirement of a binding surrogacy agreement, established prior to implantation. This means that the surrogate, the medical facility providing treatment, and the intended parents must fully outline roles and responsibilities and willfully agree to them prior to beginning a surrogacy.
Surrogate mothers have no claim to the intended child’s custodial or parental rights, as these are immediately given to the intended parents following conception. In Ukraine, surrogate mothers aren’t even allowed to be listed on the child’s birth certificate.
Laws also tightly govern what type of facility can carry out the procedures. The Ministry of Health Care Ukraine also outlines which methods can be used to perform artificial insemination and embryo implantation.
While many of the laws regarding Ukraine surrogacy are incredibly modern and very favorable to surrogates and intended parents, some laws still seem to be outside of the more liberal sphere of modern necessity. Ukraine surrogacy laws do not extend thier protections to same sex couples or single parents. Intended parents are required to be legally married and heterosexual sexual. Couples seeking surrogacy in Ukraine must also provide medical evidence that they are unable to carry the child on their own.
Less Than Ideal
Despite these laws being prolific and seemingly air tight, many news agencies have described possible problems with the way they are carried out. Reports have suggested that despite these laws, exploitation of surrogate mothers still remains a possible threat, and that there may not be enough dedicated resources to ensure that these practices are being performed in accordance to their corresponding laws.
“In almost every industry, in almost every country, there is a way to perform services that are not legal. The medical industry is, tragically, not exempt from this universal truth.” Ilaya says “However, if intended parents perform due diligence, and ensure that any agency they choose is authentic and reputable, the likelihood of problems arising here is very low.” While it’s important that a country have appropriate legislation in place, it’s also equally important that intended parents do their homework and ensure that they aren’t participating with agencies or institutions that lack the appropriate accreditations, or don’t closely follow the rules.
Perhaps the onus that falls onto the shoulders of intended parents can provide good insight to what parenting is all about: Learning to follow rules and seek the best care possible for your child, despite the price tag.