Six children, born to surrogate Ukrainian mothers, have been reunited with their families from Argentina and Spain at the hotel "Venice" in Kyiv.
On May 14, a story erupted that around 50 children, born to surrogate mothers for parents from across the world, were being held in that hotel – due to the coronavirus pandemic shutting down borders and making it difficult for parents to travel to Ukraine to pick up their children. Since then, the number of newborns staying at the hotel has been growing.
But, after many hurdles, some parents finally managed to make it to Ukraine.
46 year-old Andrea Diez and her husband Fernando from Buenos Aires have been trying to have children for the past decade. The couple went through around 12 treatments and six pregnancies in their efforts, but were unsuccessful.
Doctors that the couple had spoken to could do nothing for them, even as they were unable to set a diagnosis for the couple’s troubles. They tried adoption, but Diez said that Argentinian law for adoptions can be complex, leaving people to wait a decade, or a lifetime, to adopt a child.
And adopting internationally could have brought their own troubles – oftentimes, international adoptions offer several children at once, which would have strained the Diez’s finances.
That’s why the family ultimately turned to surrogacy, choosing between Ukraine and the United States. But, after considering the quality of services and prices in both countries, they ultimately settled on Ukraine.
"Ukraine provided us with all the possibilities to do it here, in terms of technology. And it's a great destination," said the Argentinian woman.
Finally holding her son in her arms on June 10, the woman broke down in tears, saying, “Everyone is asking me what I’m feeling. How can I tell them what I’m feeling? I feel everything!”
New mother Andrea Diez and her husband Fernando with their son Ignacio, Kyiv, Ukraine. June 10, 2020. Photo: Maks Levin / hromadske
Fernando Montero with his son Ignacio. Kyiv, Ukraine, June 10, 2020. Photo: Maks Levin / hromadske
On May 30, 9 couples from Argentina, including Andrea and her husband, arrived in Kyiv amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Andrea had been holding onto tickets to Ukraine since late March, but after international borders were closed in the middle of that month, the couple had to find another way to make it to the country.
Argentinian authorities helped the couples arrange transport to Ukraine, from Buenos Aires to Madrid in Spain. The travel costs from Madrid to Kyiv were covered by an Argentinian businessman who has business in Ukraine explains the Argentinian woman.
"He loves this country, he loves Ukraine, but his heart is Argentinian," Diez told hromadske. "It was amazing [that he helped] because it was the piece that we were missing last to get the puzzle."
After their arrival in Ukraine, the Argentinians endured a 12-day quarantine and took coronavirus tests, that, luckily, all came back negative.
Parents of children born to surrogate mothers wait to be given their children. Kyiv, Ukraine, June 10, 2020. Photo: Maks Levin / hromadske
Ukrainian nurses, holding children born to surrogate parents in their arms, during an official ceremony to transfer custody of the children to their parents. The nurses have been caring for the infants since their birth. Kyiv, Ukraine, June 10, 2020. Photo: Maks Levin / hromadske
Argentinian mother Andrea Diez holds her sone Ignacio in Kyiv, Ukraine. June 10, 2020. Photo: Maks Levin / hromadske
A family with their infant child in Kyiv, Ukraine. June 10, 2020. Photo: Maks Levin / hromadske
According to Ukraine’s human rights ombudsperson, Lyudmila Denisova, who attended the unification ceremony, another seven families have received all the documents necessary in order for them to be able to take their children home, including citizens of China and Spain.
Denisova also noted that the question of family unification of infants born to surrogate mothers for families abroad during a quarantine is currently being considered on a legislative level.
There are over 70 more infants still waiting at the hotel, which belongs to surrogacy clinic Biotexcom. Two of them were intended to be handed over to their waiting parents – but, due to the poor health of the newborns, their transfers have been delayed.
Ukraine is one of the few countries in Europe that allows for commercial surrogacy, earning the country the nickname "The Mecca of Surrogacy."
/By Maria Romanenko and Romeo Kokriatski