Surrogacy in Ukraine
UPDATE: During the military conflict with Russia, surrogacy clinics and agencies were closed in Kiev. Reputable agencies acted quickly and responsibly, diverting their efforts to relocating all surrogates to Western areas of the country, far away from military zones.
At SENSIBLE we are forever indebted to our local team in Ukraine that worked immediately and effectively to protect our surrogates and their families with less regard for their own safety. We’re glad to report that everyone is well, new babies have been born healthy, families were united with the support of local embassies, and services to intended parents continue without any major disruptions.
Jump Down this Article:
- Is surrogacy in Ukraine legal?
- Surrogacy alternatives worldwide
- Satisfying the local bureaucracy
- FAQ for surrogacy in Ukraine
- The cost of surrogacy in Ukraine
Legal and secure surrogacy within Europe
While still a troublesome destination for surrogacy, many prominent IVF clinics in Ukraine have restarted operations and several surrogacy agencies are reconstituting their programs. Surrogacy in Ukraine continues to offer an affordable and legal programs. While this country faces many challenges, it continues to to be a option for some couples.
Ukraine offers European standards of medical care, a stable democracy, affordable cost of living, and the most supportive surrogacy laws worldwide. That’s how Ukraine established itself as a global surrogacy hub.
The city of Kiev is the capital of Eastern Europe. The country is at once European, but also follows a modern legal tradition. The Ukraine has explicit Federal legislation supporting surrogacy contracts for heterosexual, married couples. Embryo donation is legal, and egg donation is regulated by law. In addition, Europeans and Americans do not need a special visa to enter the country for the purpose of surrogacy.
Ukraine has a long history helping childless couples start families. The country has been a popular destination for international adoption, and since 2009 Kiev has been growing as a hub for overseas surrogacy. Western couples can find Caucasian egg and sperm donors easily, far more affordably than international donation agencies (that regularly charge $15,000 to $20,000 USD per donation). About 95% of population is of European decent.
Ukraine traditionally enjoys relatively high living standards. The World Health Organization rates the Ukraine as having low incidents of low birth weight and infant mortality. Ukraine ranks significantly better than other countries in the region (as well as other popular surrogacy destinations).
How Much Does Surrogacy in Ukraine Cost?
There are several excellent IVF clinics in Kiev, and pricing and services typically vary widely among each. Quality clinics have modern equipment based on Western medical protocols, and the medical staff of most private clinics have been trained in Europe and the United States. Unlike other destinations, Ukrainian surrogacy clinics offer an ala carte services, with extremely competitive prices, and ‘concierge’ services added according to the wishes and circumstances of the Intended Parents. Special pricing is often an option. Some clinics will offer “guarantee” programs, which perform unlimited IVF cycles and embryo transfers until you have a healthy pregnancy and birth.
The table below shows an estimate of your total cost of surrogacy in Ukraine.
|Pay-per-Cycle Programs||Surrogacy Cost w/ Existing Embryos||"Guaranteed" Success Options|
|Egg Donor Pay||$3,000||NA||$3,000|
|Surrogate Matching & Prep||$5,000||$5,000||$6,000|
|Total Surrogacy Cost||$56,035||$51,830||$65,500|
Is Surrogacy in Ukraine Legal?
Surrogacy in Ukraine is both legal and well regulated. The practice is well regulated, and surrogacy contracts are considered enforceable under legislation enacted at the Federal level.
Under Ukrainian law, the child belongs solely to the Intended Parents from the moment of conception. Once the baby is born, the birth certificate is issued with the names of the Intended Parents, and the Surrogate is not awarded any parental rights. As a result, the surrogate has no standing to keep the baby or claim any rights. This is true even if egg and sperm donors were used and there were no biological relation between the child and intended parents — their names remain on the birth certificate.
In general, Ukraine has a much more comprehensive legal framework for surrogacy than other European countries. Most countries either prohibit surrogacy altogether or they allow surrogacy agreements only if the surrogate is unpaid. (Compare this to altruistic surrogacy laws in the United Kingdom and in Canada.)
For those countries that allow surrogacy, the laws typically give all parental rights to the surrogate until a court process (a ‘Parental Order’ for example) can transfer the rights from her to the Intended Parents. In these countries the surrogate has an option to sue for custody if she chooses — but this is not the case with surrogacy in Ukraine.
Surrogacy in Ukraine is officially regulated by Clause 123 of the Family Code of Ukraine, which establishes the parental relationship in cases of Medically Assisted Reproduction. Under the article, “if an ovum conceived by a [married couple] is implanted to another woman, the [married couple] shall be the parents of the child. The clause supports the surrogacy contract, while at the same time restricting the procedure only to married couples. (“Married” refers to Ukrainian law – which at the moment does not recognize same-sex marriages.)
Registration of the baby is regulated by the Order 24 and Order 771 of the Health Ministry of Ukraine, which deals with medical procedure of artificial insemination and embryo implantation. The order declares that in cases has given birth to a baby conceived by another couple (i.e., a surrogacy arrangement) the registration of the child is made based on the surrogacy agreement signed by the Intended Parents and the written consent of the surrogate. The agreement is submitted alongside the medical document certifying that the surrogate gave birth to child of the Intended Parents, and this allows the Intended Parents to be registered as legal parents of the child.
Qualifications for Ukrainian surrogates
Meanwhile Order 24 of the Health Ministry of Ukraine further regulates the details of surrogacy in Ukraine, giving guidelines that protect the surrogate and ensure a healthy outcome to the process. Under the guidelines, surrogates must be:
- Between 25-35 years old.
- The natural mother of at least one child.
- Mentally and physically capable of becoming a Surrogate.
- Surrogate may have no relation to commissioning parents.
- The marital status of the surrogate is irrelevant.
- A legal surrogacy agreement must be signed between the parents and the surrogate
That said, surrogacy in Ukraine is not without inconveniences. All new parents must apply for citizenship or travel visas to return home with their newborn babies. This is quite easy in countries like the United States or the UK. However some countries have steadfastly refused to issue citizenship to surrogacy babies, including Italy and Switzerland. All couples who are considering surrogacy in Ukraine should check with a local Family Law expert to see what will be the process for establishing citizenship and bringing the baby home.
Ukrainian Bureaucracy for Legal Surrogacy
Surrogacy in Ukraine is tightly regulated, which makes it a secure and stable destination to start your family. However it also means there is some additional red tape to navigate to qualify.
Here are the documents you will must provide to fulfill the legal requirements in Ukraine:
- Passport photocopies of the father and mother.
- Marriage certificate of the parents, with Apostille.
- Original letter from a doctor (on the letterhead of the clinic/doctor with doctor’s signature) stating a diagnosis of infertility
Your local doctor must provide a statement that the intended mother is unable to successfully carry a pregnancy herself. This letter is an important requirement of the Ukrainian bureaucracy for surrogacy. Specifically, the letter should explicitly state one of the following reasons why surrogacy is a recommended option:
1. Because of multiple failed IVF attempts (at least 4 attempts), surrogacy is now recommended to achieve a successful pregnancy.
2. Infertility issue such as an absence or deformation of the uterus or cervix, or non-receptivity of the endometrium (such as submucous myoma).
3. Because of specific health issue, a natural pregnancy would be impossible or would put the mother’s health at risk. In this case the letter should cite the specific medical condition.
Your doctor only needs to state one of these excuses in his letter. He should also add that among the available fertility treatments, surrogacy would be a likely option. (Also, couples should also send any available medical records regarding previous fertility treatments. The clinic in Kiev will want to know as much about your medical history as possible when they accept you as a patient.)
Sometimes the details of a patient’s situation are obvious — and you may think they do not need explanation to the clinic. But the requirement is not intended for the clinic — it is to satisfy the local government, which requires a doctor’s letter on file. The clinic is charged with enforcing the requirement. All surrogacy cases are reviewed by the authorities to ensure that the paperwork requirements are met.
As with the fertility analysis mentioned above, the letter is another point of negotiation with the various Kiev clinics. Some clinics will accept a letter that is more general and less explicit. Some require strict adherence to the regulations. When you approach clinics about a possible program, the more clearly the requirements are met, the more likely the clinic is to accept your case and offer a better package.
Secure Worldwide Alternatives to Surrogacy in Ukraine
For couples who were headed to Ukraine, there is a short list of worldwide destinations with similar benefits. Like Ukraine, the following countries will name the Intended Parents on the birth certificate upon the birth (meaning no adoption process needed). These are the most legally secure alternatives to Ukrainian surrogacy worldwide.
Surrogacy in Mexico
Surrogacy in Mexico substantially changed in late 2021 when the Supreme Court ruled declared it a protected medical procedure. As a result intended parents can be listed on the birth certificate of their surrogacy babies immediately upon the birth.
Surrogacy in Georgia
Georgia has the same legal framework as its neighbor, Ukraine. Surrogacy is available to married, heterosexual couples with a doctor’s diagnoses of infertility. The Intended Parents are automatically named as the legal parents, and no mention of Surrogacy or the surrogate are on the birth certificate. There some delays in bringing the baby home from Georgia due to recent bureaucratic changes.
Surrogacy in Canada
The legal framework in Canada is supported by legislation in several states, allowing the parents to be easily named the legal parents on a Canadian birth certificate shortly after the birth. But federal law in Canada allows only altruistic surrogacy in Canada, and there is no financial incentive for surrogates..
Surrogacy in the United States
The U.S. is the international gold standard for surrogacy, and has the most advanced IVF clinics worldwide. The U.S. is expensive, but the higher price tag comes with many conveniences and assurances.
Frequent Questions about Surrogacy in Ukraine
Is surrogacy in Ukraine legal?
Ukraine has a much more supportive legal framework for surrogacy than other Western countries, including the United States. Under Ukrainian law, the child belongs solely to the intended parents from the moment of conception.
What is the total cost of surrogacy in Ukraine?
A typical surrogacy journey in Ukraine costs about $50,000 USD. Guarantee programs cost about $60,000 USD and include unlimited egg donations, IVF cycles and embryo transfers until a successful birth. Special concierge services are also offered by many agencies.
Is it difficult to return home with a surrogacy baby?
Receiving a passport for your newborn is simple and straightforward for North American couples. A US passport requires no more than 3 weeks, including DNA testing and paperwork by the local Consulate. Some European passports may take much longer.
Are surrogates in Ukraine treated ethically?
Oversight of surrogatesin Ukraine is the most thorough and ethical worldwide. A surrogate in Kiev will live in her own home, have weekly visits from a social worker, receive housekeeping and childcare as needed, and may have regular direct contact with the IPs throughout the pregnancy.
Is gender selection available in Ukraine?
Gender selection for family balancing is available. Although clinics cannot guarantee a boy or girl baby, PGS analysis will determine the gender of each embryo. Most clinics will allow the intended parents to choose which embryo to use during an embryo transfer procedure.
Is Ukraine safe for intended parents?
Most of western and central areas of Ukraine are still popular tourist destinations and as safe as any other European city. That said, travel to Crimea and the Russian border is discouraged due to disputes with Russian separatists,
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