Ukraine – surrogacy on the increase

Ukraine is becoming a centre for surrogate mothers, as the laws concerning surrogacy are relatively lax compared to other countries

Surrogate maternity in Ukraine is practically unregulated, while in many European countries surrogacy is allowed only if no money changes hands.

While commercial surrogacy is also legal in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Russia and several states in the USA, an increasing number of couples prefer to go to Ukraine. The country is also getting more business, after legislation closed Thailand and India.

The Association of Medical Tourism of Ukraine says that reproductive care is in the top three most popular services offered to foreigners by Ukrainian medical firms after ophthalmology and dentistry.

Ukraine has seen an increase in assisted reproduction services clinics and agencies due to their laws, availability of surrogate mothers and comparatively low prices.

Packages are on offer for around US$30,000 plus US$300 a month to the surrogate mother for food and daily needs. The one-time fee to the surrogate mother after giving birth is around US$12,000, leaving a substantial profit for clinics and agencies.

As well as reputable clinics and agencies, there are a few dubious clinics and many middlemen, are not registered anywhere, that offer surrogacy services.

Official agencies and clinics offer their services based on individual provisions of the Family Code of Ukraine and other laws. One of the laws issued by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine says that surrogacy can only be offered to a married couple who have been diagnosed as infertile and incapable of reproducing.

The Ministry of Health does not know how many surrogate mothers there are in Ukraine and rarely enforces what laws there are.

In Ukraine, a surrogate mother does not have the right to keep the child instead of handing the child over to the adopting parents. Candidates for surrogacy must be under the age of 35 and have had at least one child.

The possibility of earning good money is the main reason for the majority of Ukrainian women who decide to become surrogate mothers. Most are from poor rural regions.