Ukraine tensions: The impact on surrogacy

“UK couples are amongst a number of people that we are in touch with and helping at this uncertain time” Growing Families Founder Sam Everingham. Ukraine is one of the world’s leading destinations for heterosexual married couples seeking surrogacy arrangements. It is one of only six countries globally that accepts foreign nationals and recognises both as the legal parents of a child born via surrogacy. It is estimated that over 1000 infants via surrogacy are born to foreigners in Ukraine each year and it is believed at least 10 couples a month from the UK are involved in surrogacy arrangements there.

The current situation in Ukraine has prompted many couples either expecting children imminently or whose children have recently been born to become extremely concerned about both travel to Ukraine, increased red tape and potential difficulties bringing children home.

Sam Everingham, Founder of international charity Growing Families – an organisation that helps intended parents to create and build families through surrogacy or egg/sperm donation said:

“We have been in touch with a number of people in the midst of surrogacy arrangements and births of their children in Ukraine, who are understandably very worried about potential war and getting them out of the country as soon as possible.

We have over a decade of experience of working with governments and agencies during a variety of crises to guide parents and their new-borns through safe exit processes.

These include a military coup in Thailand, earthquakes in Nepal, sudden changes in laws in India and Cambodia and of course airspace closures in Ukraine during the worst of Covid.

At the moment it seems relatively calm on the ground and anybody with an impending birth should, indeed must travel, to allow a local birth certificate and travel documents to be processed. Otherwise, the child will remain stateless.

Although the UK Foreign Office has advised against non-essential travel to Ukraine, travel to legalise a child’ parentage is essential. Also despite the UK withdrawing some staff from its Kyiv embassy, about half the staff will stay to keep the embassy open for essential work.”

A notable change from the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs (who used to allow just one parent to travel by completing a power of attorney, to allow the birth certificate and other paperwork to be issued) now requires that both foreign parents travel. Special exemptions are currently very difficult to get.

For UK nationals, the process of determining nationality and issuing a passport requires numerous checks and usually requires at least four months in Ukraine following the child’s birth.

This is causing high stress amongst parents with no care options for an existing child. These may be obliged to take their entire family into a potential war zone.

Foreign governments have various contingencies in place including creating registries of their citizens currently in Ukraine or travelling to Ukraine for births, so that they can provide emergency support if the situation deteriorates

Growing Families is able to provide detailed advice and practical assistance to parents encountering difficulties with the current Ukrainian situation


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