Ukrainian surrogacy has recently been placed in the spotlight following rare in-depth TV coverage of what’s reported to be Ukraine’s first ever surrogacy dispute. The TV programme ‘Podrobnosti’, filmed by Ukrainian TV Channel (Inter TV), covers the story of Ukrainian surrogate mother Irina Morozova who gave birth to twin boys following a surrogacy arrangement with Italian intended parents and who is now embroiled in a legal dispute to retain care of them.
I was delighted to be interviewed for the TV programme as an expert in UK surrogacy law, alongside leading Ukrainian professionals and experts including an official from the Ukrainian Ministry of Health and Vitoriya Rogatinskaya the director of the international surrogacy organization ‘The Supportive Motherhood’ and Jill Hawkins (the UK’s most well known surrogate mother).
The TV programme provides a rare glimpse of the surrogacy sector in the Ukraine and a direct interview with the Ukrainian surrogate mother Irina Morozova. Irina has been battling legally to retain care of the twins she gave birth to for the last year and a half . She seriously doubts the intentions of the Italian intended parents who commissioned the twins’ birth. Shockingly, she is worried that if she were to hand over the twins they would be sold for organ donation.
The programme reports that there is a growing surrogacy market in the Ukraine and that around 150 surrogate babies are born in the Ukraine to foreign intended parents each year. There is no international harmonization of surrogacy law and this can create all sorts of complex legal issues for intended parents, who can experience immigration problems bringing their child home after the birth and an often challenging legal process to obtain full parental status for their child. Irina’s story graphically demonstrates that surrogacy is not risk free and that surrogacy law disputes can arise, bringing further challenges for all those involved in the process.