Ukrainian surrogacy clinics may see a boom in international arrangements next year, as the closure of other countries in 2016 draws attention to Ukraine’s advantages, such as a clear legal system and geographical proximity to Europe.
India, Nepal and Thailand, which over the past decade became popular destinations for international commercial surrogacy, have all tightened up their rules over the past two years. A bill introduced to India’s Parliament would ban all international surrogacy arrangements, and limit local childless couples to altruistic (rather than commercial) surrogacy. Thailand banned international commercial surrogacy after a series of high-profile controversies.
Those changes led to a surge in interest in surrogacy arrangements in Cambodia earlier this year. But that came to an abrupt halt in November, when police arrested three people involved in organising surrogate pregnancies, including one Australian citizen. It remains unclear how the government plans to regulate commercial surrogacy, or whether it may ban the practice entirely; until then, international intended parents are likely to avoid the Southeast Asian country.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament continues to oppose surrogacy, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (an advisory body) in October rejected a proposal calling for surrogacy to be regulated throughout the continent.
All of those developments look set to benefit providers of international commercial surrogacy in Ukraine. The country’s regulations are some of the most surrogacy-friendly in the world: Under Ukrainian law, parenthood is assigned exclusively based on the DNA of the baby, meaning there is no need for a separate court procedure to recognise the intended parents’ rights to the child. Ukraine borders the European Union, and Kiev is just a few hours by air from any EU capital, making it easy for prospective parents to visit.