More than 50 surrogate babies wait to be picked up from Ukraine

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

More than 40 babies are stranded in Ukraine and waiting for new parents due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The babies were born to surrogate mothers in Ukraine and are due to be collected by parents from the UK, US, Italy, China, France and other countries.

Ukraine has closed its borders meaning foreigners looking to pick up their babies are having to wait.

Ukraine has a thriving surrogate industry and is one of the few countries that allows the service for foreigners. Concern is high that a long border closure will place a burden on clinics and distress the parents.

Surrogacy firm BioTexCom posted footage of 50 babies in seperate cots lying next to each other and reassured waiting parents that their babies were being looked after.

Staff are living inside the clinic to minimise the risk of babies being exposed to Covid-19, an administrator for the firm says.

Staff can be seen wearing masks and gloves when handling the babies.

One of the carers says: "It's difficult for us but we handle it well. We show babies their parents online and our managers arrange video calls.

Staff at the facility wear gloves and masks when holding the babies. Credit: BioTexCom/ YouTube

"It's necessary for us to inform parents about how much their babies eat, how much they sleep, and what their weight is."

Surrogacy in the Ukraine is legal and parents can buy babies. At BioTexCom, a surrogate mother receives up to £12,000.

The babies are kept in separate cots. Credit: BioTexCom/ YouTube

Denis Herman, BioTexCom's lawyer, said: "The children are all provided with food, a sufficient number of employees look after them, but there is no substitute for parental care.

"We try to send photos of children to the parents, we try to make conference calls, but this cannot replace communication in direct contact."

“About 100 children are already waiting for their parents in different centers of reproductive medicine. And if quarantine is extended, then it will not be about hundreds, but about thousands,” said ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova.

“The issue remains unresolved, but we are developing a mechanism to get out of the situation,” said Denisova, who met with Foreign Ministry representatives on Thursday.

Under the proposed mechanism, foreign parents would have to write a statement addressed to Denisova’s office, which would then contact the ministry with a request to give permission to enter Ukraine.

She said the images showed the country had a "systematic" surrogacy industry where babies were advertised as products.

About 50 clinics that offer surrogate births operate in Ukraine. The country’s economic struggles drive many Ukrainian women to become surrogate mothers.

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