Despite Russia’s war on Ukraine continuing to take place, the surrogacy industry shows no signs of slowing down, with one agency alone accounting for a huge share of the world’s surrogacy market.
The Guardian reported that foreigners are continuing to flock to Ukraine seeking surrogates. “We’ve been trying to make the dream of having our own child come true for 10 years,” one 55-year-old man, who was identified under the pseudonym Remo, said. “It won’t be the bombs or the war that will stop us.”
Since the Russian invasion began, the Guardian said over 1,000 children have been born to surrogate mothers — and 600 of whom were born at BiotexCom in Kyiv. “Even in the first months of the war, foreign couples would still come here from all over the world to pick up their children,” Ihor Pechenoha, medical director at BiotexCom, said. “The number of requests today are at a prewar level, and we receive more requests than we can take.”
BiotexCom has been accused of human trafficking in the past, yet they still remain one of the largest surrogacy businesses in the world. It is believed they control one-fourth of the surrogacy market across the globe.
A bill is currently being considered that would ban foreign surrogacy in Ukraine.
The Guardian noted that many of the pregnant women have husbands fighting on the front lines of the war, and the surrogate mothers are housed in apartments owned by BiotexCom.
“I just got married to a soldier with whom I have been in a relationship for nine years,” Tamila, a surrogate, said. “He was wounded near Kurakhove (Donbas) and is going through surgery.” Tamila’s case is an example of why surrogacy is criticized as being inherently exploitative; surrogate mothers are typically living in poverty, or surviving on a low income, while their buyers are wealthy. This is likewise true in Ukraine, one of the poorest countries in the world.
“The only reason why I agreed to do this is just for the financial benefits,” 36-year-old Dana said. “Plus, since my husband left for the frontline, I need a way to support my other four children.”
Pechenoha admitted this, saying, “Surrogate mothers are doing this for the money. They don’t want to have more children, they just want to support the children they already have.”