Visiting Opinion Writer
Ukraine is one of the few countries that allows for surrogacies to legally occur, making it a hub for international parents to hire women willing to birth their children. However, Ukraine has policies only allowing surrogacy to occur if the parents are in a heterosexual relationship and have a medical reason requiring it to be done. In addition, due to the current affairs of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, both citizens and surrogate mothers alike are faced with either remaining in the danger of the conflict zone or escaping to safety.
Is the woman or the child more important during the war? Should a woman flee her home country for the sake of the child she is being paid to bear? These are the concerns that many surrogate women have felt in recent weeks during the Ukrainian Conflict. Many mothers are more concerned about their wellbeing and safety than worrying about the baby they are carrying for the arranged surrogacy. War leads to difficult decisions in morally gray areas, where those affected must do what’s best for their interests.
The mothers want to make decisions independently and are not necessarily concerned about what they want them to do. At the same time, the parents living abroad fear for the child’s safety and feel a sense of vulnerability as the surrogate mothers choose not to leave their homes for safety elsewhere. The New York Times recently reported on 19 surrogate babies being cared for by nannies after parents were barred from traveling to Ukraine.
This creates a dispute in the expectations of these women, who give up their ability to give birth to a child that is not even their own to raise. Why are the parents less concerned about the woman’s safety when the unforeseen peril produced by Russia threatens her life? There has to be empathy for the Ukrainian surrogate mothers, not just the children that they carry. Their lives have worth, too, even if it means sacrificing their safety, leaving their families behind, or even disappointing their parents.
Melanie Moyer '22,