A Look at Surrogacy Laws Around the World Part 2 – Ukraine
By Melissa Salfi, Family & Fertility Lawyer, Mediator, Collaborative Divorce Lawyer
In the first part of my look at surrogacy laws around the world, I gave an overview of how surrogacy laws vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another. In the second part of the series, I wanted to take a closer look at commercial surrogacy. Given the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the terrible situation that Ukrainian surrogates and intended parents are in, I have decided to focus this blog on surrogacy in Ukraine.
At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw over 100 babies born to surrogates in the Ukraine stranded from their intended parents due to lockdown and travel bans. And now, due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, many intended parents will again tragically miss the birth of their child.
Unlike in Canada where only altruistic surrogacy arrangements are legal, commercial surrogacy is legal in Ukraine. Commercial surrogacy, also known as compensated or paid surrogacy, allows intended parents to financially compensate a woman for acting as their surrogate. As a result, Ukraine has become a popular international surrogacy destination. It’s estimated that more than 2,000 babies are born through surrogacy in Ukraine each year. Most of these babies have foreign intended parents, from countries such as Australia, Ireland, and the UK. There are several fertility clinics, surrogacy agencies and law firms assisting with the process.
There are significant benefits for intended parents who use surrogates in Ukraine, with one of the main advantages being that the surrogate is not listed as the mother on the child's birth certificate. Unlike in several other jurisdictions, the birth certificate is issued in the name of the intended parents immediately after the birth, without any reference to the way the child was born, and without any need to obtain a court order (declaration of parentage) or go through an adoption process.
Another benefit of using a surrogate in Ukraine is that it is well regulated, with an established process with documentary requirements and imposed requirements for becoming a surrogate and intended parents respectively. Surrogates must be over 18 years old, have at least one natural healthy child, have no direct genetic link to the child they will carry, and be mentally and physically fit to become a surrogate.
While surrogacy in Ukraine is affordable and has many benefits, at this time it is only accessible to heterosexual married couples and at least one of the intended parents needs to have a genetic link to the child. Single individuals and LGBTQ+ couples will unfortunately need to consider other options. All of this of course has changed in the past months and leaving many newborns separated from their intended parents.
In the next part of this blog series, I will look at commercial surrogacy in a destination that is a bit closer to home, namely California.
For more information on how surrogacy works in BC or Alberta, set up a free consultation with one of our fertility lawyers today. Our fertility lawyers are here to help guide you through the process of growing your family.