The dispute in Ukraine is putting a damper on surrogacy proponents, illustrating the conflicts of interest between surrogate mothers, requesting parents and business agencies who fear that a despicable and lucrative business will collapse.
One tragedy can hide another. While cameras around the world are focused on the human and material damage caused by the war in Ukraine, another ordeal is played out in silence: that experienced by surrogate mothers trapped in surrogacy.
To understand what is at stake, we must bear in mind that Ukraine is one of the rare countries to authorize foreign couples to resort to so-called surrogate motherhood on its soil. In a few years, the country has become, since 2015 and the gradual closure of surrogacy to foreigners in Thailand and India, a privileged destination for this practice.
The cost is estimated between 40,000 and 60,000 euros, with a range of varied services that can go as far as choosing the sex of the child. Several dozen French couples make the trip each year.
But for the filiation to be recognized by the Ukrainian authorities, it is imperative that the applicants go there physically. And this is where the infernal machine seizes up.
Indeed, as a direct consequence of the conflict in Ukraine, many foreign citizens who resort to surrogacy – between 2,000 and 4,000 children are born each year in this context in the country, according to imprecise estimates – find themselves today in the impossible situation of not being able to join their newborns, but also of obtaining civil status documents allowing their parentage to be recognized.
While military tension is high in the place, customers harass Ukrainian surrogacy agencies to obtain information on the proper application of their commercial contract. Agencies who do not intend to see the tidy sum promised to their traffickers flow through…
In these conflicts of interest, surrogate mothers and their children are the first victims: since they must necessarily remain on Ukrainian territory until the end of their pregnancy.
It was then that the stories multiplied of women abandoned under the bombs just after giving birth, their newborns being torn from them by the medical profession, in order to bring them to safety, in the west of the country, where the future ” parents” may be able to visit.
Thus, BioTexCom, a famous surrogacy agency in Ukraine, focuses mainly on the safety of babies, without regard for the mothers who carried them for nine months.
The Ukrainian conflict thus illustrates in a clear and unexpected way the serious ethical consequences of surrogacy already widely denounced by the defenders of life and natural morality: commodification of the baby, objectification of women, trafficking in human beings and violation of the dignity of the surrogate mother and the child.
At an age of extreme vulnerability, where dependence on others is total, the child is born without a parent. Surrogacy also has psychological repercussions on the child and the surrogate mother.
Studies show – and it’s obvious – that during pregnancy, a mother and her child form an intimate bond. With surrogacy, the child, and the mother who carried him for nine months, experience the trauma of separation and abandonment. War only aggravates these sufferings.