What Is a Surrogate Mother & What Do Surrogates Do?

Due to health issues, some women are incapable of carrying a child to term. Others experience infertility, which prevents them from getting pregnant. Many women have underlying medical or genetic conditions that make pregnancy risky or simply impossible. With surrogacy, a child can be biologically related to one or both intended parents, unlike with adoption, which is a great opportunity for some couples to have their own biological child even when they can’t have it in a convenient way.

What is surrogacy, and why do people choose it?

In a surrogacy agreement, a woman conceives and gives birth to a child on behalf of another couple by having an embryo with their genetic material implanted in her uterus lining.

Couples opt for surrogacy as a means to expand their families when they can’t conceive due to infertility or can’t carry to term due to medical issues.

Traditional vs. gestational surrogacy

What Is a Surrogate Mother & What Do Surrogates Do?

There are two types of surrogacy:

  1. With traditional surrogacy, the intended father’s or donor’s sperm is artificially implanted into the surrogate mother. The surrogate mother supplies the eggs, and the child will share her genetic makeup. Because of the genetic connection between the surrogate and the child, this kind of surrogacy is illegal in Ukraine.
  2. Surrogacy during pregnancy. In this procedure, the intended mother’s eggs are fertilized with the donor’s or her husband’s sperm. Because local laws require that the child must be biologically related to the parents or at least one of them, donor sperm cannot be used in this situation if the intended mother has issues with her eggs. Instead, an egg donor is used, and the intended father’s sperm should be used to fertilize the eggs.

Contrary to traditional surrogacy, gestational surrogacy is completely legal in Ukraine, but only for legally married couples.

How do surrogate mothers go through the process?

It’s worth mentioning that not every woman can be a surrogate mother. Only physically and mentally healthy women over the age of 21 can become one. Moreover, they have to have at least one healthy child of their own to qualify.

If a woman meets these criteria, the next step is an interview with an agency. At this stage, the agency explains the surrogacy process, the rights and responsibilities of each party, and the compensation a surrogate mother is entitled to for her services.

Once the surrogate mother is chosen by the couple and agrees to work with them, both parties work with their legal representatives to draw up a surrogacy agreement. This document explains rights, responsibilities, and the surrogacy program itself both for the intended parents and the surrogate.

What Is a Surrogate Mother & What Do Surrogates Do?

When the contract is reviewed and signed, the surrogate mother starts her medical preparation for the procedure. This includes many lab tests as well as consultations with health professionals. Once the test results come back indicating that the surrogate is ready, she starts to receive hormonal therapy to prepare her uterus lining for further embryo implantation.

Once the embryo is ready for transfer, it gets implanted in the uterus. The therapy continues until the pregnancy is confirmed as developing at 12 weeks of gestational age. After that, the surrogate receives all the prenatal care she is entitled to, being under the control of doctors of the IVF clinic she works with.

Is surrogacy legal in Ukraine?

What Is a Surrogate Mother & What Do Surrogates Do?

Gestational surrogacy is legal in Ukraine for officially married heterosexual couples as an infertility treatment. Moreover, the law declares that the intended parents can establish their parental rights just a few days after the child is born ‒ the birth certificate will list them as legal parents.

As for citizenship, a child born to a foreign couple via a surrogacy program inherits their citizenship and requires a visa or passport to depart from Ukraine with their parents.