Surrogate babies stranded in Ukraine
Ukraine's human rights ombudswoman has appealed to authorities to find a solution for scores of infants born to surrogate mothers for foreign parents who are stranded because the country's borders are closed under coronavirus restrictions.
Ukraine has a thriving surrogate industry and is one of the few countries that allows the service for foreigners.
Concern is high that a long border closure will place a burden on clinics and distress the parents.
"About 100 children are already waiting for their parents in different centres of reproductive medicine. And if quarantine is extended, then it will not be about hundreds, but about thousands," said ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova.
The issue attracted wide attention after Biotexcom, the country's largest surrogate operation, posted a video showing dozens of babies in bassinets arrayed in tight rows in two large rooms of the hotel where the clinic puts up clients.
The video aims to reassure absent parents that their little ones are receiving good care, showing nurses bathing and caressing them.
Ms Denisova said there were 51 babies in all at Biotexcom, 15 of them under the care of parents who were able to make it into the country before the shutdown but can't leave.
Ukraine's restrictions are to remain in place until at least May 22.
The parents are from 12 countries: China, the United States, Italy, Spain, Britain, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Mexico and Portugal.
"The issue remains unresolved, but we are developing a mechanism to get out of the situation," said Ms Denisova, who met with Foreign Ministry representatives on Thursday.
Under the proposed mechanism, foreign parents would have to write a statement addressed to Ms Denisova's office, which would then contact the ministry with a request to give permission to enter Ukraine.
About 50 clinics that offer surrogate births operate in Ukraine. The country's economic struggles drive many Ukrainian women to become surrogate mothers.
Originally published as Surrogate babies stranded in Ukraine