Aside from the banking business, where money is known to love silence, there are other ways to make money, where loud marketing is bad for both buyers and sellers. This is the case in the birth of children "to order" - surrogate motherhood. Both future parents and women carrying their children are less interested in publicizing their delicate gesheft.
However, it happened. And it became clear how widespread business with surrogate babies is in the vastness of the former USSR. Since the borders were closed in March and to this day, custom babies and their genetic parents have been cut off from each other. Parents began knocking on all doors, at embassies, at clinics where their long-awaited children were born, at newspapers and on the radio - begging everyone to let them go to their children. It turned out that not only 1000 newborns were stuck in Russia. The same situation with surrogate babies in Ukraine and Georgia.
In early May, a video from Kiev appeared on the Internet ( here ). In it, a clinic that specializes in surrogacy shows 46 babies left without parents due to covid. According to the agreement with the surrogate mother, she should not see the child after birth. But the borders are closed, and not all future parents managed to fly to the birth.
According to unofficial information from the Ukrainian ombudsman for human rights in the Rada, Lyudmila Denisova, there are about a hundred such children, but this figure is constantly growing. The government monitors the situation only for surrogate children born in large clinics. But there are many agencies that offer the joys of motherhood and fatherhood illegally. The authorities suspect that such babies are waiting for their genetic parents with nannies in private apartments, without sufficient medical supervision. The authorities believe that parents should be aware of the situation with their newborns. This is enough, says Lyudmila Denisova.
Parents from Germany Julia and Peter were lucky: they managed to arrive in Kiev before the quarantine and the closure of the borders. For two months they waited for the birth of their daughter. Julia says : “We are lucky. Most parents only receive photos and videos of newborns. And in the first months, direct contact with the child is so necessary".
In Georgia, the doctors of the clinics called all future parents and asked them to come before the appointed date of birth. But not everyone had time. Canadians Patrick and Ineten Goredema ordered tickets from Toronto to Tbilisi with a transfer and in Rome. The day before departure, Georgia closed its borders. “At first we thought, it's okay. In a couple of weeks everything will calm down and we will be on time”, - said Patrick Goredema. But as the weeks passed, the situation became more and more uncertain. The couple applied to the Georgian Embassy in Canada for a special entry permit. “The situation was desperate. My wife cried every day and asked who would feed our baby if he was born. For us, getting to Georgia has become the meaning of life - “die, but do it”, Patrick continued. The couple received permission to enter Georgia, but this was the beginning of their epic. It took them a whole month to receive tests from Canadian doctors. The search for flights used by the Georgian government to take its citizens home was even more difficult. They got to Tbilisi when their son was one month old.
Irishman Oliver James has a different problem. He has been living with his two-month-old daughter in St. Petersburg for two months now. According to Russian law, parents come into their own after a genetic test that establishes relationship with a child. In normal, non-sighted times, the relationship process takes six to eight weeks. Oliver says he thinks the Irish embassy hasn't even started to address his problem. He came to St. Petersburg with 20 thousand pounds, 15 thousand he spent on legal procedures. For two months, father and daughter rented an apartment, but the lease came to an end, money was pumped in too. The young father could not imagine what to do. The best day of these two months was every Monday, when Oliver was full of hopes that they would finally take Vivien home this week. The worst day was Friday, because nothing was decided and the departure was again postponed. Oliver said :“In the Russian birth certificate, only me is listed in the column “parents”. I am her only relative and guardian, Vivienne is not a Russian citizen and is not protected by the Russian state. "The Irish Foreign Office issued a statement on the case, recognizing "surrogate parenting is an extremely complex and controversial matter". But Oliver is waiting not only for recognition of the complexity of the situation, but also for help.
Another 1000 babies in Russia are waiting for help, who are alone due to the pandemic, without their genetic parents from China, France, Australia and other countries. They are trying to resolve the issue through the Human Rights Council. “We have started receiving many requests from different countries, and now their number is increasing. There are about 1000 babies who have been born or will be born in the near future throughout Russia”, - said Irina Kirkora, Deputy Chairperson of the Human Rights Council. The main problem is that, by birthright, these children are citizens of the Russian Federation, and in order for them to enter the country of their parents, they must confirm their relationship. The biological parents were supposed to come for the paperwork, but due to the coronavirus, the borders were closed. The number of such newborns is growing. Only one center in St. Petersburg has information on 600 children.
Surrogate children are not cheap pleasure. In the US, the cost of surrogacy services starts at $ 100,000. In many countries, such as Germany, it is prohibited by law. In Russia, the joys of motherhood are half the price. Therefore, desperate parents go to the east - to Russia, Ukraine, Georgia. The beautifully designed sites offer white or Asian children with all the guarantees of a high medical level. The cost of the service, depending on the country, clinic, complexity of the case and special requirements for a surrogate mother, is different - from 25 thousand dollars to 80 thousand.
In Russia, as in some other countries of the former Soviet Union, surrogacy is legal. For each child, women receive up to 15 thousand dollars. In 2018, according to the European Center for Surrogacy, at least 22 thousand children from surrogate mothers are born in Russia per year, about 5% of the market is accounted for by foreigners, and the annual growth is at least 20%. According to market estimates, Russia ranks second, after the United States, in terms of surrogate babies. The debate about the morality or immorality of hybrid parenting did not begin now. Back in 2017, Senator Belyaev prepared a bill banning commercial motherhood. The senator strongly feared that children born “to order” could be sold for organs. Another reason for senatorial outrage is that surrogate motherhood may become a roundabout maneuver of Dima Yakovlev's law banning the adoption of Russian children by foreigners. The notorious Irina Yarovaya, Deputy Speaker of the State Duma, recently called to deprive foreigners of the opportunity to use the services of Russian surrogate mothers. “Russia cannot and should not be a country where, you know, there are surrogacy incubators for foreign citizens”, - the deputy said.
“Now opponents of this reproductive technology are literally using the confused situation, the pain of parents and the interests of children in order to manipulate public opinion”, - wrote State Duma deputy Oksana Pushkina in Telegram. If infertility is a disease, then by prohibiting foreigners from using the services of surrogate mothers, Russia will violate its international obligations, according to which our country is obliged to provide medical services to everyone, not just its own citizens.
Such discussions are now being conducted not only in Russia, but also in Ukraine. Only they cannot help babies and their desperate parents. Lawyers urge politicians not to use the situation for ethical disputes, but to immediately help 1000 children. Lawyer Ksenia Luzina, partner of the Moscow Shcheglov & Partners Law Office, says: “Without touching upon the topic of surrogacy, whether it is reasonable or lacking in terms of tightening the legislation in the field of surrogacy, it is worth noting that the situation that has arisen against the background of the pandemic and the closure of borders, related to the problems of biological parents to pick up their own children, is so absurd that it requires an immediate response from the authorized bodies of the state. By analogy, with the situation when children are left without parental care, they are transferred under the temporary guardianship of the state in the person of the guardianship and guardianship authorities or other persons, having received the prior consent of the biological parents. Perhaps the confidant will be a surrogate mother, who will take care of the child before performing the procedures related to the DNA test and the child's acquisition of the citizenship of the biological parents. Of course, without help and assistance from the state, these issues cannot be resolved; a certain legislative regulation of this problem is required. Until the issue is resolved at the legislative level, it is possible to involve not only the bodies in the field of the protection of human rights and children, but also the prosecutor's office, as a supervising and controlling body in the field of the protection of children's rights. And talking about toughening the legislation in the field of surrogacy has long been worth it, but rather not about toughening, because this term applies more to punishment, but rather to the improvement of this law, including against the background of the current situation".
Children are entitled to parental care. We need to give all future parents the opportunity to take the kids home. Now this is the most important thing.