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LGBTQ+ couples, together with single would-be parents, often face discrimination within the world of international surrogacy. Currently only heterosexual nationals can seek surrogacy services in Ukraine. However, this doesn’t stop LGBTQ+ couples from exploring avenues and loopholes that are open to them internationally, in order to create the families they’ve always dreamed of. For example, prospective LGBTQ+ parents could, historically, utilise Ukrainian surrogates – their babies would simply need to be born outside of the country. As such, Ukraine became a go-to destination for LGBTQ+ intending parents; until, that was, the war began. Now, prospective parents are facing a very different reality on their surrogacy journeys.

Surrogacy is not an easy journey for anyone; it naturally comes with uncertainty, doubt, and apprehension, as people wishing to become parents pursue their biggest dream in life – to have a family. For many, finding a surrogate within their own country can be difficult due to financial restrictions and/or complex legalities; as such, the world of international surrogacy has grown hugely over recent years, with two countries remaining at the centre of this industry for two very different reasons… Russia and Ukraine.

Legal rights

Homophobic attitudes towards parenthood have existed in Russia for years and while Ukraine is home to equally discriminative legislations, as only heterosexual nationals are able to explore surrogacy, there are comparatively more loopholes here. Namely, international LGBTQ+ prospective parents can seek surrogates in Ukraine, but their babies must simply be born outside of the country in order for the parents to acquire legal rights to their own children. This gives hope and a possible route to parenthood so that Ukraine has become a favoured choice among parents exploring surrogacy. 

However, while this has been manageable for some time, leading many prospective international LGBTQ+ parents from around the world to turn to Ukrainian services, the war is now having harrowing repercussions. As it stands, surrogates are giving birth to children within Ukraine’s borders as travel restrictions and safety risks prevent them from leaving the country. This, devastatingly, will mean these parents face very real difficulties legally when it comes to accessing their children; their role as parents will be challenged. Meanwhile, the physical safety of surrogates and their carried babies remains uncertain. For all concerned, this is a terrifying reality. These children are being born underground, in shelters, and without any established safety, while their lives post-war remain equally uncertain.

Guidance and support

This is impacting the world of international surrogacy in countless ways. As the Founder of Think Positive! Surrogacy, I help LGBTQ+ intending parents throughout their surrogacy journeys; amid this crisis, I am seeing the extreme anxieties parents are experiencing as they face an excruciating wait to meet their children and bring them to safety. Furthermore, surrogacy costs are now soaring as people are becoming more willing than ever to pay any price necessary for surrogates in safer countries such as the USA. The entire industry is being impacted, making my role as an advisor and supporter all the more important.

With no end in sight for the Russia/Ukraine war for the time being, we are helping LGBTQ+ parents process the emotions that are being highlighted by this harsh reality. Surrogacy is an emotional journey and anyone exploring this avenue needs mental-health guidance and support – without a war adding to its challenges. It’s important that if you’re considering this path, you work alongside experts who can ensure you’re well-equipped, healthy, and prepared for all that you could face. At Think Positive! Surrogacy, that’s what we do; we become a source of advice and suppor, making any dark moments that bit brighter while responding to any uncertainty as best we can.

Prospective LGBTQ+ parents looking to begin their journeys now are doing so at a fragile time. If international options are your preference, I would recommend finding a surrogate in a country with strongly inclusive views, do your research, and diligently run through your contracts with a legal professional. The war unfortunately shows little sign of ceasing, as this devastation continues the entire industry needs to be vigilant and forward-thinking.

About the author

Antonio Marsocci

Antonio Marsocci is the Founder of Think Positive! Surrogacy, an organisation that guides and supports LGBTQ+ intending parents through every stage of their surrogacy journey. He is father to twin girls born through surrogacy.

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