Being together and having children is what many couples want. This year, more than 16,000 children were born every hour. The World Health Organization estimates that 48 million couples are involuntarily childless. Helping them is a billion dollar market.
One of the options for childless couples to have children is through surrogate mothers. According to a 2020 study, the market is worth over $4 billion and growing strongly.
Ukraine is one of the countries where surrogacy is allowed. Currently, several hundred surrogate mothers are wearing the children of couples from all over the world.
Tatiana is a surrogate mother. She fled to Warsaw with her daughter, from the war in Ukraine. Tatiana wears the baby of Irish parents.
“The main reason, of course, is the pay. I admit that, as well as everyone else you’ll ask. Otherwise, it’s impossible to earn enough money to buy a house,” admits Tatyana.
Tatiana receives €15,000 to deliver the Irish couple’s child. The amount equals the wages she would have earned over three years. Tatiana is in Kyiv when the war breaks out. Her agency forces her to stay there until the birth.
Out of desperation, the surrogate mother flees to Warsaw, together with her twelve-year-old daughter. Future parents from Ireland help her financially. They rent her an apartment in Poland and pay for her examinations.
“I would accuse the agency of carelessness towards surrogate mothers. They don’t treat us well, and we are also human,” says Tatyana.
In central Ukraine, babies are waiting for their parents from China, Canada or Germany.
Patricia and her husband are coming from Germany to pick up their baby. Their son will be named Henry. In a few days, the couple will have to undertake a life-threatening journey back to Germany.
The surrogate mother who carried their child was forced to travel hundreds of kilometers across Ukraine during the war to give birth.
“All of a sudden they said either you come to us or you don’t get your fee.”
He traveled eight hours, three days before the birth, through the war zone.
Another surrogate mother from eastern Ukraine said that during the war, her agency collapsed, but they called her and told her she had to go to Kyiv to give birth there.
“Instead of a safe place, they send me through rocket fire and bombs to save money. I fear for my life,” the surrogate mother said.
One of the leading clinics in Ukraine continues to work, despite the war.
“The clinic has not stopped working for a single day. Medical staff, customer service and senior management have been working around the clock since the first day of the war,” said an employee at the clinic, reports NOVA.
“They stay in their cities or villages, if it’s peaceful there. And then, as soon as the birth approaches, they have to come closer to us. But it is possible that the surrogate mothers give birth to the children in other cities as well,” adds the employee at the clinic.