Couples considering gestational surrogacy face a range of options that can be bewildering, and a number of key questions about the safety, reliability and cost of the procedure. In recent years, many couples have found that Ukraine provides the best option for surrogacy abroad, for a variety of reasons – legal, medical and practical.
Couples who can’t arrange altruistic surrogacy, for whatever reason, are left to explore commercial surrogacy options. The practice is illegal in all European Union countries except Greece, and there the couple and the surrogate mother must both be residents (not necessarily citizens) of the country.
That has left couples who want to have their own biological child but are unable to complete a pregnancy using IVF, looking outside the EU. But in recent years, several popular destinations have been closed off to couples seeking surrogacy arrangements. India, once a leader in international commercial surrogacy, banned new surrogacies in November 2015. Thailand had imposed a ban four months earlier, limiting the procedure to resident couples. In January 2016 Mexico joined the other two in banning surrogacy for foreign couples.
Surrogacy babies in Ukraine
Over the past two decades, meanwhile, Ukraine has been clarifying and strengthening legal protections for parents who want to enter into a surrogacy contract. Under Ukrainian law, a child’s parenthood is determined solely by DNA, which means the biological parents are listed on the birth certificate and a gestational surrogate – where an embryo is conceived in vitro from the egg and sperm of the intended parents – has no legal claim to parenthood. That contrasts with other jurisdictions, where a court order is often required in order to transfer parenthood to the intended parents after the baby is born.
Ukraine has also built up a robust legal framework for surrogacy, and the legal procedures are well established.
There are no age limitations for the parents contracting the surrogate, and unlimited attempts at IVF are permitted.
Still, there are some legal hurdles that parents have to clear when engaging a surrogate in Ukraine. For example, at the moment surrogacy is available only to legally married, heterosexual couples. And despite the accommodating nature of Ukrainian law, parents must still ensure that the consulate of their home country will issue documents for the baby to travel home; procedures can vary by country and must be thoroughly checked out before entering into a surrogacy contract.
Significantly, Ukrainian Health Ministry regulations also place limitations on who can become a surrogate mother, protecting women against exploitation and ensuring the health of all concerned. Requirements include that the surrogate be between 25 and 35 years old, and already be the natural mother of at least one child. There are also several formal requirements for the intended parents; they are clear, well-established and relatively easy to fulfil, including an apostilled copy of the marriage certificate translated into Ukrainian.
In addition to all the legal advantages, Ukraine’s location (bordering four EU member states), cultural closeness and lack of visa requirements for EU citizens help to increase its attractiveness for European couples. In the country’s new economic and political climate, Kiev is an increasingly popular destination for business and leisure travel, and everyday life in the capital remains unaffected by the frozen conflict in the country’s southeast.
Among Ukrainian surrogacy clinics, ilaya’s stands out for several reasons. We provide the entire package of services “under one roof,” with no subcontractors; we can also arrange travel and accommodation. We also offer excellent facilities to ensure the health of our surrogate mothers with high-quality paediatric care once the children are born. Founded in 2011, we have years of experience in providing world-class medical services to couples from abroad, as well as dealing with the various legal procedures involved in surrogacy.
To find out more about surrogacy at ilaya, please click here to contact us.