In Ukraine, surrogacy, or also called surrogate motherhood, is regulated by an explicit law. According to the Family Code, it is intended for married heterosexual couples in a situation of infertility.
For this reason and due to the economic price of treatment, Ukraine is consolidating itself as a star destination for surrogacy. Couples from all over the world are looking for a Ukrainian pregnant woman to have children by this method of assisted reproduction.
The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.
Possible changes in Ukrainian law
First of all, it is important to point out that some changes are currently being discussed in Ukraine's current surrogacy legislation. It is not known whether these changes will be approved or not.
However, the president of the Ukrainian Association of Reproductive Medicine, Professor Alexander Yuzko, has reported the following:
To date, there have not been any changes in Ukrainian legislation regulating assisted reproduction techniques, including surrogacy. Fertility clinics in Ukraine continue to work in the usual way, following the rules of the current legislation.
We from Babygest understand that with these statements, there is no cause for concern.
Legal requirements in Ukraine
In Ukraine, the law allowed surrogacy until today provided that the following requirements were met:
- Being a married heterosexual couple.
- At least, the father had to contribute his genetic material, being preferable that both members of the couple contribute the genetic load of the future embryo.
- The mother of intention had to have a medical reason that made it impossible for her to become pregnant or carry the pregnancy to term without risking her own health or that of the future baby.
Among the medical reasons, two main causes of infertility were admitted:
- Deformity or missing uterus, the latter being acquired or congenital (for example in the case of Rokitansky syndrome)
- Anatomical, morphological and/or structural endometrial abnormalities that result in implantation failure and are incurable
A medical certificate attesting to the pathology suffered was required to initiate surrogacy treatment in Ukraine.
In addition, this certificate was reviewed and confirmed by Ukrainian specialists in gynecology and obstetrics.
An official medical diagnosis was also requested if the patient suffers from a serious somatic disease that could endanger the life of the patient during pregnancy but not the health of the baby.
Finally, it was admitted as a medical cause the fact of having gone through more than 4 failed IVF attempts in which the embryos transferred were of high quality. These cases also had to be accredited with the corresponding certificate issued by the fertility clinic where the failed treatments were carried out.
You will find more information if you consult the following article: Surrogacy due to diseases that prevent pregnancy.
The Ukrainian surrogate
A Ukrainian woman who wishes to carry the baby of a couple with fertility problems in her womb must meet a minimum of requirements:
- Being of legal age (over 18 years old)
- Having at least one own child
- Being physically and mentally prepared to gestate a baby and deliver it after birth
If she is married, her husband's consent is not mandatory, but it is advised that the intended parents ask for it.
The intended parents and the surrogate must sign a surrogacy contract.
Assisted Reproduction and surrogacy
Gestational surrogacy treatment involves the participation of a surrogate mother, also known as a gestational carrier, who is responsible for carrying the pregnancy to term.
Besides, assisted reproduction techniques also need to be applied. The most obvious is IVF (in vitro fertilization), which is essential to create the embryo in the laboratory and thus prevent the pregnant woman from also being the biological mother. In fact, if the embryo resulted from artificial insemination, from the sperm of the intended father and the ovules of the surrogate, the latter would be considered as the intended mother.
Other techniques may also be used provided that the Ukrainian law on assisted reproduction is respected.
Egg donation in Ukraine
As mentioned above, it is preferable for both intended parents to contribute their genetic information. However, if the intended mother does not have functional ovaries and is therefore unable to provide her eggs, legislation allows for the donation of eggs.
Egg donation in Ukraine must be completely anonymous. It means that neither future parents will know the identity of the donor (and vice versa) nor will they be able to choose her from photos.
An exception may be made if a close friend or a woman in the family of the prospective parents is willing to provide them their eggs. This is the only case in which the donation can be directed.
The Ukrainian law on assisted reproduction also allows the donation of semen and the donation of embryos. However, in the context of surrogacy, the father must compulsorily provide his gametes.
Therefore, these two techniques cannot be used in the case of a surrogate pregnancy.
Gender selection using PGD
Additionally, Ukrainian law allows the selection of the sex of the baby without the need to do so for therapeutic reasons or for family balance.
To be able to choose the sex, a PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) must be performed to choose an embryo of the desired sex before transferring it to the uterus of the surrogate mother.
In order to learn more about this tecnique, we invite you to read the following article: Assisted Reproduction methods and its use in surrogacy
What surrogacy costs
The price that future parents will have to pay in order to have a child through surrogacy in Ukraine is between 23,000 dollars and 40,000 dollars approximately.
The difference in budget will depend mainly on whether or not the couple needs an egg donation. It also depends on the surrogacy program chosen.
The most economical option includes only one attempt and the use of one's own eggs. On the other hand, the most expensive programs guarantee pregnancy and for this reason they include egg donation, PGD and the number of transfers necessary to achieve the pregnancy of the pregnant woman. The prices shown are indicative and may change depending on the clinic and circumstances.
We recommend that you get information from different companies and ask for detailed budgets of the different programs available.
In order to find out what can make the price of a surrogacy treatment vary, we advise you to read the following article: What does a full surrogacy budget include?
As for the financial compensation to the gestational carrier, the amount must be pre-established in the previous surrogacy agreement.
In principle, the payment to the gestational carrier is divided into two parts:
- Reimbursement of pregnancy-related expenses
- Financial compensation for her help
Choosing Ukraine for a surrogate pregnancy
Ukraine is a country that combines several advantages such as competitive prices and permissiveness regarding egg donation and PGD.
However, it is not an option for single people (men or women), homosexual couples (gays and lesbians), or couples without fertility problems.
For intended parents who meet the legal requirements, there are additional advantages that contribute to making Ukraine a star destination for surrogacy.
Agencies and clinics
Due to the growing demand for surrogacy in Ukraine, both internationally and nationally, many companies have been created in this sector.
There are numerous surrogacy agencies that help find a possible gestational carrier. On the other hand, most fertility clinics are trained to carry out the medical process.
Travel and Accomodation
The city of Kiev is generally the destination of choice for future parents. They dispose of easier transport connections and flights to the country's capital happen more frequently. Compared to American countries such as the United States or Canada, the distances are significantly shorter.
The standard of living is lower in Ukraine, which greatly reduces the accommodation expenses.
A couple who is undergoing a surrogacy process in Ukraine will generally have to travel at least twice to the country:
- For assisted reproduction treatment: in order to obtain mature eggs, the patient must inject herself a hormonal medication for ovarian stimulation, a process that usually lasts about 10-12 days. In some cases there is a possibility that the mother-to-be may begin stimulation treatment in her country of origin and come to Ukraine a few days before the follicular puncture, the procedure by which the eggs are obtained. If egg donation is used, the stay may be reduced to a few days. During this time, the intended father will provide his sperm sample to fertilize the donor's eggs. In so doing, the embryos will be obtained and transferred to the gestational carrier.
- For the birth and collection of the baby: As for acquiring US citizenship, the child may acquire it at birth if the parent or parents meet the conditions established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). A child born abroad must be biologically related to at least one US citizen parent who is biologically related to him or her. ---
Acknowledgement of paternity
Article 123 of the Family Code of Ukraine considers a baby to be a child of genetic parents from the moment of conception. If a couple uses an assisted reproductive technique with gametes from donors, they are the legal parents from the moment the embryo is created.
In a process of gestational subrogation, the parents of intention are considered the legal parents as of the moment of transfer of the embryo to the subrogate mother’s uterus. Therefore, she has no right or obligation to the baby.
After the birth of the baby, two documents will be given to the intended parents:
- The birth certificate in the name of the biological father and the gestational carrier
- Renunciation by the gestational carrier
With both documents, the intended parents will be able to register in the Ukrainian organism corresponding to their baby as the child of both, without the name of the gestational mother appearing.
As for acquiring US citizenship, the child may acquire it at birth if the parent or parents meet the conditions established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). A child born abroad must be biologically related to at least one US citizen parent who is biologically related to him or her.
To this purpose, DNA testing is required. If the child does not have a biological connection to a US citizen parent, he or she will not acquire US citizenship at birth.
Security of the filiation procedure
As stipulated in the Family Code of Ukraine, a gestational mother is prohibited from claiming maternity.
To date there has been no known case in which the gestational mother has not wanted to give up the newborn.
If she does not want to deliver the baby after delivery and therefore do not sign the waiver, a trial may proceed.
Intended parents could prove that the baby is their child since they are the ones who have initiated the reproductive treatment. With the judicial sentence, the pregnant woman would be forced to renounce the child in favor of the intended parents.
It would be a somewhat longer process, but it would lead to the same destiny: the recognition of filiation between the parents of intention and the newborn.
FAQs from users
Is surrogacy legal in Ukraine?
Yes, surrogacy is permitted in Ukraine under the Article 123 of the Family Code of Ukraine. Moreover, the Article 139 of the Family Code states that a woman who has been registered as the child's mother can relinquish her rights to the child.
Is gay surrogacy allowed in Ukraine?
No, the law explicitly makes reference to married, heterosexual couples who have trouble conceiving. Neither gay couples nor single men are allowed to have a baby via surrogacy in Ukraine.
How much is surrogacy in Ukraine?
Currently, the average cost of surrogacy in Ukraine is between USD $23,000-40,000. The price breakdown does not always include the same services, so we recommend that all intended parents pay special attention to what's included and what's not when reviewing an initial cost estimate from a surrogacy agency.
Is commercial surrogacy allowed in Ukraine?
Yes, it is permitted. Ukrainian surrogates usually receive a financial reward for carrying someone else's child, which is stipulated in the surrogacy contract signed between the parties.
What are the requirements for a woman to become a surrogate mother in Ukraine?
In accordance with the Ukrainian Instruction on Procedures for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), a gestational carrier has to be a legally capable woman who is 18 years old or over, and must have at least one healthy child of her own.
Suggested for you
If you have not yet decided on your surrogacy destination, you can compare the conditions in different countries by reading the following pros and cons: Surrogacy abroad.
Our editors have made great efforts to create this content for you. By sharing this post, you are helping us to keep ourselves motivated to work even harder.