Wombs to rent

by Sandra Juncu

Human beings are, like all other living creatures, supposed to procreate. It is mandatory for the survival of the species and some call it the actual purpose of life. But what happens when you can not perform this service for mankind? Easy, you get £ 40,000 together and fly to Ukraine!The Eastern European country has lately become the go to place for surrogacy and the numbers of women offering their womb for hire are constantly increasing.

According to the  Human Research Embryology Authority 1 in 6 couples in the UK is infertile and for some the only viable option is surrogacy. But they face a huge obstacle as commercial surrogacy is banned in the EU. This is why many British couples are looking elsewhere for the solution and “going abroad for treatments and surrogacy is happening more and more often”, a spokesperson for Infertility Network UK commented.

But why Ukraine?

The law is very permissive here compared to all other European countries. Existent legislation stipulates that surrogate mothers may receive financial compensation for their services and it also protects the biological mother’s rights to the child during pregnancy and after birth. Valery Zukin, vice-president of the Ukrainian Association of Reproductive Medicine (UARM), says 150 to 200 paid-for surrogate motherhood cycles take place in the country each year, but up to half of couples renting Ukrainian wombs are foreigners.

“The number of foreign couples who come to Ukraine for surrogate mothers’ service has increased up to 50 percent and now equals the number of Ukrainian clients,” said Oleksandr Feskov, head of the Kharkiv Center of Reproductive Medicine.

31­-year­-old mother of three, Kyivite Natalia helped an English couple have a baby and she received £28,500 for this. “First, I was afraid and for hesitated almost a year, but my doctor told me there is nothing bad if, for some money, I give birth to a child for other people. My first pregnancy did not let me even finish school. When I was pregnant for the third time my husband left me. I did not know what to do and the money that the government gives us is not enough to pay for even the flat.” Ukraine has transformed this into a booming business with new clinics opening up all the time, trying to get a piece of the action. The unfortunate part is that the women who are actually hosting the unborn children do not receive real counceling and most of the money goes to the clinic owners.

The prices are one third of the ones in the US but potential customers do have to be aware of scams. Some women are faking their pregnancies and using babies left behind by their mothers in hospitals, others are just disappearing with the money. Olena spent £25.000 and she got scammed.“The first surrogate mother simulated her pregnancy, took the money and escaped,”, she says, “It was a very hard experience for me. I felt I was unworthy being a mother at all.”

We have a duty to procreate. We have to, even if it sometimes takes us to SurrogacyFinder.com.