Fourteen Ukrainian surrogate mothers left babies behind in the north as agencies from Ukraine set up shop in legal grey-areas and shoddy, make-shift hospitals, international media reports said on Friday.
According to The New York Times, 14 surrogates travelled to the north to give birth as the Ukrainian agency has set up in Famagusta.
The agencies have been set up in the grey areas, such as the north or Transnistria, due to a lack of legal hassle. Also, Ukrainian law prohibits surrogates from being mothers to same-sex couples and couples looking to select the gender of their children.
So, many agencies open abroad and in areas not internationally recognised. Ukrainian women looking to be surrogates through the help of these agencies travel to the north, where the embryo is implanted return home for seven months of the pregnancy and then return to the north to give birth.
After giving birth, the woman is required to renounce her legal rights on the child, opening the way for the genetic parents to adopt it.
However, due to coronavirus, 14 of these women, who were in a make-shift hospital in Famagusta, reportedly gave birth but did not have time to renounce the babies as they rushed to leave and head back to the Ukraine before lockdown.
Contacted by the press, the women shed light on the entire process and their time in the north.
They said they were forced to undergo C-sections despite some preferring to give birth naturally. One baby died.
They also complained the ‘hospital’ was anything but, and that doctors and nurses only spoke Turkish.
The woman, Ira, who lost the baby said the anaesthesiologist arrived in the birth suite in a down jacket instead of scrubs.
Following the death, the Turkish doctors reportedly disallowed natural births.
As the virus spread in February, the surrogacy agency allegedly asked the mothers to remain in Famagusta and feign parenthood of the children until paperwork was completed, but they left instead.
Back in Ukraine, the group who gave birth in the north had difficulty receiving reimbursements for postpartum treatments.
Two agents who arranged the births blamed the mothers for abandoning the babies and lashed out publicly. The agents published the mothers’ names online to intimidate them and posted on social media disparaging comments calling them “cattle.”
Many of the babies born however are now in a legal limbo, with some of the couples being able to pick up their children, but others still unable to do so.
One woman said the baby she gave birth to is still in foster care, and the parents have been unable to claim the child.