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Legal, Etchical, Regulated

Surrogacy is a process whereby a woman agrees to bear a child for another person who will become the child’s parent after birth. Using a surrogate mother is often the only solution to have a genetically-related child when pregnancy is medically impossible or health risks related to carrying a baby by the intended mother are too high. Surrogacy may be combined with gametes (egg or sperm) donation.

Ukraine is one of the very few countries where commercial, as well as altruistic surrogacy is legal and regulated. Surrogacy arrangements are available to married heterosexual couples and require medical indications. Surrogacy law in Ukraine stipulates that only gestational surrogacy is legal i.e. when the surrogate mother is not genetically related to the child. It may be combined with gametes (egg or sperm) donation, provided that the gametes of at least one of the intended parents are used to create the embryo. Parental rights of intended parents are recognized at the moment of conception and both intended parents are indicated on the child’s birth certificate with no further legal or formal action needed.

How does the surrogate mother process work?

Once the surrogate mother is duly matched and both intended parents and the gestational carrier have complete the routine medical assessment, psychological screening, consent forms and counselling, and entered into a notarized form contract, the medical procedure can start.

Here’s what happens during a fresh embryo transfer procedure:

  • both, the surrogate and the intended mother (or an egg donor) begin synchronizing their menstrual cycles by taking oral contraceptive pills;
  • the intended mother (or egg donor) will also take medication to stimulate her ovaries and promote the growth of follicles, which contain the eggs;
  • next, the surrogate mother takes medication to help develop the endometrium (lining of the uterus) in preparation for an embryo transfer;
  • once the ovarian stimulation phase ends, eggs will be retrieved from the intended mother (or an egg donor) and fertilized with the intended father’s sperm (or with the sperm of an anonymous donor) to create embryos;
  • embryos are then transferred to the surrogate who will carry the pregnancy (part of embryos can also be cryopreserved (frozen) for future use);
  • 14 days after the embryo transfer, a blood test is carried out on the surrogate mother to determine if pregnancy has been achieved;
  • once the pregnancy is confirmed, the surrogate, with support from the intended parents, will carry the baby;
  • once delivered, the child is handed to the intended parents who are now the legal parents of the new-born;
  • after checking out of the maternity hospital (normally the birth certificate shall be ready by then) the parents may take the child home. If the parents are a foreign couple, the surrogacy unit of our agency in Ukraine can assist them to receive the requisite travel documents for their new-born at a consulate.

In some cases, subject to approval and/or based on recommendations of a reproductologist, the process can be done without synchronizing menstrual cycles. Instead, the embryos are cryopreserved (frozen) and, once the time is right, towed and transferred to the surrogate mother.

Why choose Fertility Ukraine?

  • We only enter into ethically acceptable arrangementsOur agency only enters into ethically permissible gestational carrier arrangements that are based fully on informed consent of all participants. All parties undergo appropriate psychological, medical, and legal counselling. Independent legal counselling also is provided to gestational carriers and donors. We ensure that all parties have an absolutely clear understanding of the requisite benefits and risks. We also make sure that when it comes to compensating gamete donors or gestational carriers, it avoids undue inducement or risk of exploitation.
  • We do it by the book Fertility Ukraine works in strict compliance with local laws and we always strive to fully comply with best practices and ethical standards established by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Our goal is to set new industry benchmarks in Ukraine for client care, professionalism, and for having an ethical approach to all parties involved in the treatment with assisted reproduction technology.
  • We care about our clients Our services are structured similarly to those of a law firm. Our agency does not sell any packages or goods. We act as your local representative when it comes to interactions with medical institutions, donors, gestational carriers, consulates, etc. Our experienced legal team will prepare all necessary documents, while our case coordinators will closely work with you to ensure that you feel comfortable and safe, so that you may fully concentrate on fulfilling your dream of parenthood, leaving it up to us to handle organizational matters, communication, and paperwork.

Furthermore, we care about your privacy. Fertility Ukraine works in line with internal data protection protocols, where any information that relates to our clients is shared on a need-to-know basis between agency employees or with third parties. Additionally, we use GDPR and HIPAA compliant end-to-end encrypted data storage and file sharing solutions to keep your data safe.

How much does the program cost?

The total cost for the surrogacy program (including agency, legal and clinical fees, medication, surrogate cost and compensation) may range from around EUR 50.000 when the intended parents use cryopreserved embryos that were created earlier, and up to around EUR 70.000 when the surrogacy arrangement includes an egg donation and the intended parents decide to use an open or semi-open egg donor.

For example, the following is a breakdown of costs when your own gametes are used in a fresh transfer. Please note that fees and surrogate mother costs indicated here are only estimates and may require adjustments on a case-by-case basis. These estimates do not cover medical and genetic screening of intended parents, their travel costs, and genetic testing of embryos.

Surrogacy Arrangement with Own Gametes

Surrogacy Arrangements

* Please note that fertility treatment has numerous elements that may influence the total cost. Each case is unique, as well as the needs and expectations of the involved parties and “one size fits all” solutions don’t apply here. Once you provide us with more information by submitting an online application formhere we will be able to offer a personalized price quote for our services and related costs that address your requirements.

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    Please note that during COVID-19, we attempt limit physical contact as much as possible. Consequently, it might be possible handle all the arrangements with no need to travel to Ukraine, at least at the initial stages of a program. For more details please see our COVID-related notice here.

    Questions and Answers:

    Is surrogacy legal in Ukraine?

    Yes, gestational surrogacy (when the surrogate mother has no direct genetic relation to the child) is legal and regulated in Ukraine.

    Is gestational surrogacy as well as traditional surrogacy available?

    Only gestational surrogacy is legal in Ukraine. The law stipulates that the surrogate mother has no genetic relation to the child (with the exception of the intended parents’ close relatives when they may be indirectly genetically related to the child).

    Can a single woman, single man, or a gay couple participate in a surrogacy program?

    Unfortunately, no. Ukrainian surrogacy law stipulates that only officially married heterosexual couples are allowed to participate in programs related to the surrogacy process.

    What legal protections does Ukraine offer to intended parents and surrogates?

    Intended parents are recognized in Ukraine as the child’s legal parents from the moment when the embryo is transferred to the surrogate mother. Consequently, neither a surrogate mother, nor an egg or sperm donor have any parental rights in relation to the child born via a surrogacy arrangement.

    Is the transfer of legal parentage available in Ukraine?

    There is no need for intended parents to transfer legal parentage since they are recognized as the legal parents of the child born via surrogacy from the moment when the embryo is transferred to the surrogate mother. Furthermore, the intended parents are indicated as the child’s legal parents on the birth certificate. Consequently, there is no need for further court orders or proceedings in Ukraine.

    Please note that depending on your home country laws, you might need to take further legal action after returning from Ukraine (e.g. a second parent adoption). For more details, please see the Getting Home section.

    What are the eligibility criteria for surrogacy?

    Any of the following medical conditions may serve as eligibility criteria for surrogacy:

    • absence of uterus (congenital or acquired);
    • deformation of the uterus cavity or cervix caused by congenital malformations or due to surgery; benign tumours that make pregnancy impossible;
    • structural-morphological or anatomical changes of the endometrium that lead to the loss of receptivity, synechiae of the uterine cavity, which are not treatable;
    • severe somatic diseases that may lead to health or life threats for the recipient during pregnancy, which, however, do not affect the health of the child;
    • unsuccessful repeated IVF attempts (4 or more times) with repeated receipt of high-quality embryos, the transfer of which did not lead to pregnancy.
    What are the eligibility criteria for surrogacy with gametes donation?

    If, in addition to any of the medical conditions (please see our answer to the above question) that qualify the intended mother for surrogacy, she has acquired or congenital absence of oocytes, or there is an absence caused by menopause or if the sperm of the intended father cannot be used for fertilization, or if there is a risk of transmission of hereditary diseases, the intended parents are eligible for a program that includes donated gametes.

    Please note that gametes of only one of the intended parents may be replaced with donated gametes, as there is a legal requirement that during surrogacy, at least one of the intended parents should be genetically related to the child.

    When can a clinic refuse treatment?

    In most cases intended parents with HIV, Hepatitis B C will be considered ineligible to enrol in an ART program at a surrogacy clinic in Ukraine. Any other type of active infection will require prior treatment and retesting.

    Please note that our surrogacy agency in Ukraine will not facilitate surrogacy for intended parents whose country of origin will not grant citizenship for new-borns via surrogacy in Ukraine!

    Furthermore, intended parents may be rejected for the following non-medical reasons:

    • inability to maintain a respectful and caring relationship with a semi-open or open egg donor or gestational carrier;
    • abnormal psychological evaluation;
    • unresolved or untreated addiction, child abuse, sexual or physical abuse, depression, eating disorder;
    • unresolved or untreated major depression, bi-polar disorder, psychosis, or significant anxiety disorder or personality disorder;
    • current marital or relationship instability;
    • failure to agree with a gestational carrier on the number of embryos transferred;
    • ongoing legal disputes;
    • significant and ongoing problematic interpersonal relations;
    • history of noncompliance or ongoing problematic interactions with an ART program or medical staff.
    To what extent is contact between a surrogate mother and the intended parents is encouraged?

    Our agency encourages direct contact between intended parents and the surrogate mother. Surrogacy is usually a stressful experience for both parties and establishing good relations between them, in addition to supervision conducted by our agency, often helps to make the journey more comfortable. Thus, intended parents have better control of the situation, whereas, the surrogate mother will be assured that she is not alone and there are people that really care about the baby whom she is carrying and also about her well-being during the surrogacy process.

    Are contracts legally enforceable?

    Yes, contract between intended parents and the surrogate mother is fully enforceable in Ukraine. Moreover, there is a legal requirement that such contracts are executed in written form and before a Ukrainian notary.

    Is surrogate compensation allowed?

    Yes, it is allowed.

    What type of legal counsel is offered to the surrogate and the intended parents? Does this include the drawing up of contracts?

    Our legal team will prepare a custom tailored bi-lingual (usually English-Ukrainian) agreement for you, which will reflect your arrangements with the surrogate mother. Our surrogacy lawyer will also discuss the final draft of the agreement with you to answer questions arise or to amend the document. In some cases, when it’s not possible for the intended parents to be in Ukraine, our agency can arrange for the agreement to be signed by our representatives who will act based on a duly issued and notarized (in your country) power of attorney.

    Our agency will also subcontract an independent attorney for the surrogate mother, who will explain to her all the details and legal implications of the contract, including rights and obligations thereto, and will be able to answer any legal questions that she may have in relation to the surrogacy arrangement.

    What screening tests for the patients (intended parents) are required prior to treatment?

    The scope of medical screening of intended parents may vary, depending on whose gametes will be used for creating embryos.

    All the tests and examinations may be done in Ukraine upon your fist visit to the clinic. Nevertheless, to facilitate the process and avoid long waits for results (some test results may take couple of weeks), we recommend that intended parents take the following tests that are required in every scenario before approaching a surrogacy clinic in Ukraine:

    • both intended parents – blood type and Rhesus factor, blood tests for syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis B and C;
    • intended parents whose gametes will be used to create embryos – Karyotyping and Spermiogram (in case of intended father).
    Who can be a surrogate?

    Based on legal requirements, a surrogate mother is an adult woman with full legal capacity and who has at least one healthy child of her own, subject to a voluntary written consent and absence of medical contraindications.

    What kind of medical screening is required for the surrogate?

    A candidate surrogate mother is required to undergo the following medical screenings:

    • evaluation by physician of somatic health;
    • blood type and Rhesus factor;
    • clinical blood test;
    • coagulogram;
    • blood tests for syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis B and C;
    • blood tests (IgM, IgG) for toxoplasmosis, Chlamydia trachomatis, Cytomegalovirus, and Rubella Disease;
    • bacterioscopic analysis of swab obtained from the vagina, urethra, and cervical canal;
    • cytological analysis of swab obtained from cervix;
    • general gynecological examination;
    • ultrasound examination of pelvic organs;
    • blood tests for Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), Prolactin (PRL), Follitropin (FSH), Luteinizing hormone (LH), Progesterone (P4), and Estradiol (E2).

    If the physician in charge of the program is not fully satisfied with the screening results, they may reject the surrogate, require additional tests or prescribe certain treatment, to make sure that the woman entering the program in fully ready for pregnancy and that any related risks for her and the baby are reduced to a minimum.

    How is a surrogate matched?

    The key factors in matching a gestational carrier are the candidate’s physical and mental health that is assessed during her medical and psychological screenings. Additionally, in a series of interviews, we aim to understand her motivation, awareness of related risks, etc. An additional but not decisive factor would be the distance between where the candidate lives to the clinic and her ability to communicate in foreign languages.

    Does a surrogate mother undergo any counselling and additional checks prior to acceptance?

    Prior to being accepted in a surrogacy program managed by Fertility Ukraine, a candidate surrogate mother, in addition to the standard medical screening and counselling by medical specialist, shall also undergo the following:

    • legal background check (state registers and online);
    • home visit by agency representative (to verify living conditions, family status, etc.);
    • psychological screening (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory);
    • interview and counselling by the in-house psychologist (based on a methodology that was custom developed for our agency) to better understand the motives of the candidate, her potential reaction to stress and readiness for pregnancy, ability to separate with the child, etc;
    • interview and counselling by an agency lawyer (to discuss legal and organizational matters related to surrogacy);

    Additionally, once accepted, the surrogate mother will receive legal assistance in relation to her surrogacy contract by an independent legal counsel (hired by our agency at the cost of intended parents) and will receive psychological counselling during pregnancy and immediately after.

    Does the agency recruit surrogates?

    Yes, our agency recruits surrogates.

    What are the costs? How are surrogate expenses handled?

    The total cost for the surrogacy program (including agency, legal and clinical fees, medication, surrogate cost and compensation) may range from around EUR 50.000 when the intended parents use cryopreserved embryos that were created earlier, and up to around EUR 70.000 when the surrogacy arrangement includes an egg donation and the intended parents decide to use an open or semi-open egg donor.

    Please note that fertility treatment has numerous elements that may influence the total cost. Each case is unique, as well as the needs and expectations of the involved parties and “one size fits all” solutions don’t apply here. Once you provide us with more information by submitting an online application form here we will be able to offer a personalized price quote for our services and related costs that address your requirements.

    Agency Fees and Third-Party Costs:

    At Fertility Ukraine, we are fully transparent in what we do, how we do it, and how we charge for our services and handle any third-party expenses. Unlike most Ukrainian agencies that charge a “package” fee that covers “everything” (creating an inevitable conflict of interest, since the less they spend on your behalf the more they earn), we clearly distinguish our fees from any third-party expenses that are handled separately and are charged at cost. We provide our clients with regular reports, confirmation of receipts, etc. This approach allows us to be on your side all way through your journey, since we represent your interests and act on your behalf, rather than trying to “sell” you something.

    Payment Structure and Schedule:

    We will charge you a portion of our fees at the initial stage, together with signing of the agency agreement. The remaining portion of the agency fee will be charged in additional instalments, upon achieving certain milestones in the selected program. Third-party costs and expenses may also be split into several instalments, for the additional comfort of intended parents. For some, a minor fee is added based on a separate contract if our agency also acts as your escrow agent, managing your program costs and ensuring that all costs and expenses are paid in a duly and timely manner.

    Will the agency work with a surrogate sourced by intended parents?

    In most cases yes, provided that the candidate sourced by the intended parents qualifies under Ukrainian law, passes the compulsory medical screening and successfully passes our psychological screening.

    Is a preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allowed and available in Ukraine?

    Yes, a PGD is available in most Ukrainian reproduction clinics. It is also possible to choose between Fluorescent in situ Hybridization (FISH) and Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) methods of testing.

    Is genetic screening of embryos, such as amniocentesis and NIPT, available in Ukraine?

    Yes, both types of testing are available. For a definition of amniocentesis and NIPT please see our glossary here.

    How will I receive information on the surrogate’s medical condition and how the pregnancy progresses?

    Our standard program includes regular emailed reports to intended parents in relation to the surrogate’s wellbeing.  We will send reports immediately after any significant medical manipulations (e.g. ultrasound scan) or scheduled medical checks, and if nothing important happens, every two weeks.

    Will the surrogate receive competent medical care and guidance in nutrition during pregnancy?

    Yes, of course. Regular medical check-ups and guidance (including nutrition, daily routine, etc.) are part of the standard medical protocol for pregnancy. Additionally, our agency will make sure that the surrogate mother meets all scheduled medical appointments and receives dignified, competent, up-to-date medical care and, if needed, psychological counselling.

    Will the agency ensure that surrogates have safe and comfortable housing during pregnancy?

    Part of our standard screening is to assess the living conditions of candidate surrogate mothers. Furthermore, in the third trimester of pregnancy, the surrogate mother will be relocated to a comfortable rented apartment in Kyiv (or where the maternity hospital chosen by intended parents is located) to avoid any logistical issues when the time of birth comes. Relocation can be done earlier upon the consent of all involved parties.

    What if caesarean section is required?

    All the maternity hospitals with which we work are well equipped and duly staffed to perform a caesarean section, if required. In this case, we will make sure that the surrogate mother also receives appropriate medical care after the caesarean section until full recovery.

    Can the intended parent(s) be present at the birth?

    Yes, in most cases it is possible.

    This part is discussed and formalized in the contract with the surrogate mother (her consent) and later in the agreement with the maternity hospital where child delivery will take place. All private facilities with which we cooperate do offer this option for intended parents. Furthermore, it is often possible to get a separate room at the maternity hospital for the intended parents, where they will spend the first few days together with their new-born, before being checked out together with the child.

    What Neo-Natal Intensive Care Facilities are available?

    All maternity hospitals with which we cooperate in our surrogacy programs are duly equipped and staffed to provide emergency neo-natal intensive care, if required. Additionally, if more serious treatment is needed (e.g. a heart or brain surgery), we will make sure to coordinate and make all necessary arrangements with specialized medical centres that offer such treatment (like in any other country, only a limited number of specialized medical facilities perform such treatment in Ukraine, and most of them are located in Kyiv).

    Is it possible to preserve the umbilical cord blood for future medical use?

    Collection of the cord blood, umbilical cord and placenta may be performed in all maternity hospitals with which we cooperate. Further processing of the material, extraction of stem cells, etc., may be performed by specialized service providers. There are at least two credible local facilities and one international facility that provide such services in Ukraine. Please note that the received materials can be also sent abroad for further storage or treatment.

    How extensive are the exit requirements after birth?

    It normally takes up to one week after the birth of a child to complete all Ukrainian formalities and receive a birth certificate. After that, the intended parents (if they are not Ukrainian citizens) should apply to their consulate/embassy to obtain a passport/travel document for the new-born. Depending on the country of origin, it may take from 2-3 weeks and up to 2-3 months to receive the passport allowing you to travel home with your new-born child. For more details please check Getting Home section.

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