THURSDAY, 28 JULY 2022Whilst the Russia-Ukraine war rages on, some Ukrainian women are struggling to give birth in shelters in the heart of the war zone. They are not leaving for neighbouring countries for refuge — why? These women are bearing babies as surrogates for the commissioning parents from the relatively wealthy Western countries. Ukraine has been the hub of commercial surrogacy services in Europe for decades — an emergent industry that isn’t yet legal in many other regions of the world. Under such circumstances, they cannot flee to give birth to surrogate babies in another nation due to legal restrictions.
Not only in wartime is it difficult for surrogate babies to make their way home to intended parents. The transnational reproduction and surrogacy journey involve complicated legal issues that require international cooperation, involving various stakeholders — the surrogates themselves, gamete donors, intended parents, medical clinics, the court, attorneys, and the expected babies. In this process, a host of problems may present themselves — for instance, the birth certificate issued by the surrogate’s country may be rejected by the host country, making it hard to obtain a passport for the baby to fly home. If legislation fails to respond timely to the growing transnational surrogacy service, it is quite possible that more babies around the world — not only in Ukraine — would be left ‘stuck’ in their surrogate countries, unable to make it safely to the hands of their intended parents.