Every year, between 2,000 and 2,500 children are conceived and given birth to by Ukrainian women for third parties in exchange for money; 90% are commissioned by foreign couples. With at least 33 private and 5 state-owned surrogacy clinics, Ukraine is a popular and low-cost destination for reproductive tourism.
Since the beginning of the war, the media has focused on parents who buy children worried about the safety of their babies in the theater of war. “The fate of Ukrainian surrogate mothers, on the other hand, does not interest anyone ,” criticizes the executive director of IMABE, Susanne Kummer, in the new Bioethik Aktuell.
Two harrowing media reports now focus attention for the first time on the plight of ” those women whose workplace is their body and who are being crushed between war and foreign interests,” says Kummer.
The Guardian newspaper, for example, reports that surrogate mothers have been urged by agencies to abort . Others are suffering abortions because of the dramatic situation of the war. “Who is looking after this young woman’s medical needs in the bombed-out homes and hospitals, no one asks?” Kummer said. De facto, women are not entitled to payment or compensation. Agencies only do this when she gives birth to a healthy baby , as stipulated in the contract. Many denounce that they are treated like “animals.”
The Kyiv-based agency BioTexCom currently holds 25% of the global surrogacy market. A child costs between 40,000 and 65,000 euros. Ukrainian women between the ages of 18 and 35, most of whom come from precarious social backgrounds, are hired to provide their bodies. Once pregnant with the foreign embryo, they are reunited in a flat far from their cities of origin and supervised by a supervisor who forces them to follow strict schedules.
They may also be contractually obligated to undergo potential abortions. They are lured by fees of 8,000 to 10,000 euros, three times a Ukrainian annual salary, but most of the income goes to the agencies. The human rights group La Strada receives 100 calls a year from abused Ukrainian surrogate mothers, some of whom claim that in the end they only received a few hundred euros from the agency as remuneration….
The above comes from a March 19 CNA Info Catolica story.