Twins born to surrogacy in Ukraine

Family Law|March 16th 2015

A High Court Judge has granted parental orders to a couple who commissioned the birth of twins in Ukraine.

In RS v T, the couple concerned had been married for 38 years and were both in their 60s. More than 20 years previously the woman had undergone IVF treatment in an attempt to have a child but this was unsuccessful and the couple decided to explore surrogacy as an alternative.

But it was not until 2012 that they decided to proceed with surrogacy and entered an arrangement with a commercial clinic in Ukraine, paying a fee of EUR 26,000 (£18,520) plus a supplement of EUR 5000 (£3,562)when the surrogate mother became pregnant with twins.

The current period of civil unrest in Ukraine began around the time the twins were born and the couple were therefore stranded in the country for several months.

While still in Ukraine, the couple asked the surrogate mother to signdeclarations stating that she agreed to the children being brought to the UK and to giving up her parental rights.

The commissioning couple have now returned to the UK with the twins. In February they applied for the parental order, transferring to them the status of parents to the twins. Under English law, the birth mother of surrogate children is their legal mother unless and until this status is transferred by the courts.

However, the couple ran into difficulties demonstrating the amount of money which had been paid to the surrogate mother, and were also unable to contact her in order to serve her with notice of the proceedings.

In the Family Court sitting at Canterbury, Mrs Justice Theis explained:

“The applicants invite the court to dispense with the need for the respondent to be served, as they submit they have taken reasonable steps to try and locate her. The evidence demonstrates that the only other method left to seek to contact her would be by way of notification in the media to try and locate where she is.”

The Judge said the documents signed by the surrogate mother while the couple were still in Ukraine were not sufficiently detailed to demonstrate that the birth mother had fully consented under the relevant legislation. On the other hand, she also believed that the couple had taken all reasonable steps to find the mother and the Judge decided that it would not be sensible for the couple to purse the possibility of trying to contact the mother through the media given the “very sensitive subject” and the unrest in the region.

Mrs Justice Theis authorised the payments made by the couple, saying the couple had “acted in good faith” and not sought to conceal the sums paid. Payments made to foreign clinics and surrogate mothers must be authorised by the family courts when granting parental orders because commercial surrogacy is illegal in the UK.

Noting that some of the difficulties encountered by the couple could have been avoided if they had taken specialist legal advice, she turned to the question of the couple’s age. They had no health concerns and a Cafcass officer had approved the granting of a parental order after interviewing them. However, the officer did stress the importance of the couple making arrangements for the children in the event that they became unable to care for them.

The Judge concluded that the twins’ welfare required “the position with their current carers to be secured in a way that provides lifelong security.”

Read the judgement here.

Photo of Ukraine by Juanedc via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(15)

  1. 12. Brianna says:

    Oh, Europe, clean up your act!!! Infertile couples have the right to be happy parents! And they are guiltless they are not able to become pregnant in a natural way. I think it’s a little out-of-date position concerning surrogacy bans in European countries. I am infertile so I know for a certainty what I am talking about! For 10 years in a row my husband and I tried our best in order to get pregnant but we have a go at… When we decided to use assisted methods of reproductive medicine we chose America firstly. But we spent a great amount of money and didn’t reach positive result :((( After that we visited India, Russia and Thailand. All our attempts were unsuccessful, again and again. By chance I found information about one Ukrainian clinic and I decided to try once again. I have paid only 9900 euro and received the all needed services and unlimited number of attempts! It sounds like fantastic anyway it’s true! I became pregnant after the second attempt. I hope that Europe will regain self-control and start to help its infertile citizens.

    • Jasmine says:

      I 100% agree with you Marilyn, only couples who went through infertility knows how frustrating and painful it is when you are spending bags of money with no results….every married couple has a right to built their family if they want but unfortunately most governments donot support infertile couples in terms of law and finance. could you please tell me which clinic you are with because I am also in the same boat as you are ????

  2. Molly says:

    “A record number of British children were conceived via surrogacy, according to the official data. The number of children born with the help of surrogate mothers abroad and registered in the UK during the last six years increased by 265%. Surrogacy is prohibited in the UK. Therefore infertile British families go abroad in order to use assisted methods of reproductive medicine. One Ukrainian center welcomes more than 90 couples from the United Kingdom each year. It must be noted that year ago it was much harder to receive official registration in the UK after child’s birth in Ukraine via surrogacy. Earlier parents should wait about six months in order to register their child. Now the waiting time had been reduced to two months. The UK legal solution for resolving parenthood in surrogacy cases is a parental order. This is a court order which makes the intended parents the legal parents of the child. Once a parental order is made, the birth will be re-registered to record both intended parents as the legal parents, and a new birth certificate will be issued. Before leaving Ukrainian clinic, parents receive surrogate mother’s official deny declaration (it confirms surrogate mother has no rights and obligations concerning child she gave birth).”

  3. KateHd says:

    Yes, of course sometimes unpleasant problem cases happen. But it can be seen in any sphere! Hey, people, various accidents can be seen not only in the clinics but at factories, malls, barbershops and everywhere! I think the only thing governments should do is to regulate these issues as it was made for example in Ukraine. And if country bans surrogacy or something else let it just ban fulfillment of these procedures on its territory. And if people conduct surrogacy abroad without violating laws of native country they must have the right come back home with their newborn and register him legally at home. Recently I have found interesting video and I absolutely agree with such its words “… so in the short term all European states, including those prohibiting surrogacy on their territory, must formally recognizes the filiation between the intended parents and those children born through surrogacy abroad”. See it here, interesting and towardly I think so. http://www.euronews.com/2014/10/31/surrogacy-a-form-of-planned-parenting-yet-to-win-eu-wide-acceptance/

  4. Norah says:

    Jasmine, dear, I can recommend you a great clinic! But it’s only if you don’t afraid of going to Ukraine)))) Do you know this country? I guess yes as after the lasts events have been taking place there it became known all over the world) So, there is a great center for human reproduction in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev! All inclusive programs, surrogacy and egg donation are legal, donor base is rather good and nice surrogate mothers. I was there and I liked it very much. And what is the most interesting and is worth noting is that there were so many patients in the clinic!!! I guess it’s rather truthful indicator of clinic’s success and positive needed results. I can say that clinic is rather good and moreover Ukraine has already a solid experience in the sphere of surrogate motherhood and other infertility treatment with the use of assisted reproductive methods. Biotexcom clinic which I visited really have a great number of foreigners! I was in the clinic which is worked only for foreign patients on the territory of Ukraine, Kiev. During my visit I saw nine couples from Italy, four from Germany, one from Spain and one from China! There was a big line to visit a doctor. I heard that doctors there are very high-skilled ones! In a word I can recommend this country and this center for sure. Moreover they even propose guarantee of positive result and say that will refund in the case of failure. I have never heard before clinics could offer patients such a great conditions. And you know in this case that you will live the medical center only with a baby! Because clinic is interested in your program’s good result not less than you.

  5. 1Julia 1 says:

    I read a lot about the beauty of Kiev. But most foreigners are afraid to go there due to the news about different military actions and fighting in the capital of Ukraine. I found the latest news concerning all these. Maybe it will be useful for someone as I calmed down reading it. I wanted to visit BioTexCom clinic and saw the news about Kiev. I thought that I would return my ticket and stay at home. But manager told me all in details, explained the situation and at last I agreed to visit Kiev. And all that is written further in the article turned to be the real truth. Everything is ok. The article is titled Situation in Kiev is safe for its citizens and capital guests! “Is everything well in Kiev? Is it safe to go to the Ukrainian capital and to your clinic in particular?” – BioTexCom managers have been answering just these questions in light of recent developments took place near the Ukrainian Parliament building. About 2,000 protesters from the nationalist Svoboda Party and Right Sector organization gathered in front of the Verkhovna Rada to oppose the decentralization bill. Clashes between nationalists and riot police erupted after Ukrainian MPs gave initial backing to reforms for more autonomy in the rebel-held east. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which has been observing the fragile ceasefire in the east and negotiating with Ukrainian and Russian officials, is yet to comment on this violence. A spokesperson said the OSCE was verifying the facts, adding: “There seem to be a lot of rumors circulating, so we don’t want to add fuel to fire.”

  6. 1Julia1 says:

    Representatives of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry noted that all the perpetrators will be punished according to the law. We hasten to assure you that as of today the situation in Kiev is calm and safe for foreigners. European guests of the capital can make themselves easy on that score and not afraid visit Kiev. City’s infrastructure functions in normal regime. Kiev lives a routine rhythm of life. Functioning of the BioTexCom medical center continues in the customary active condition. Drivers of the clinic, as always, meet clients at the airport and bring them to the clinic or hotels where they will live. Core of revolutionary events does not intersect with the roads to the airport, clinic, or hotels where patients live. It is to be recalled that arriving in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, you will be greeted at the airport by clinic’s representative who will not leave you and will not throw in the dark. Customer managers are always in touch with patients, and can recommend interesting sights of the city, as well as answer all your questions. One of the main advantages of the BioTexCom medical center is that team of professionals has been working in the clinic in order all patients feel confident, comfortable and secure. Arriving in a strange city, you will never be alone, without the advice and assistance. Our workers are happy to help you in any matter. We always take care about our patients, so their safety and peace of mind are our priorities. Managers who lead couples always got online so that client can contact his manager at any time of day or night, if it will be necessary. BioTexCom is the only clinic which offers patients “all inclusive” medical packages. It means that you are in good hands of our center workers from the moment you step on the Ukrainian land and to day you go home. As of today you can safely buy tickets to Kiev and visit our clinic without the slightest trace of fear”. Yes, we were met by clinic’s driver. And we even have a walk and rest in the Kiev downtown. There are a lot of people there and everything is ok. All shops, cafes and hotels work in normal common regime. So there is no danger and you can go there without fear. Good luck to everyone!

  7. yamini says:

    In most of the countries a surrogacy is legal and surrogacy treatment is very helpful to the couple that those who are unable to conceive the baby. In ukraine surrogacy treatment is legal and surrogacy clinics will provide best facilities with well experienced doctors in affordable cost.

  8. Ukraine Surrogacy Alliance says:

    As a follow-up, we HAVE nearly completed a full review of surrogacy agencies in Ukraine. The full post will be on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Ukraine-Surrogacy-Alliance-966351240147110/

    Currently (subject change with final review) we can only provide a strong recommendations to two Kiev based surrogacy agencies. Those, in alphabetical order, are:

    –New Hope Surrogacy
    –Successful Parents

    A full overview of how we came to that conclusion will be included in our post.

  9. ClaireM says:

    I also used surrogacy service in Ukraine. It was 3 years ago but i`m sure that now the service is on the same level. We chose Ukraine among the great number of countries which deal with surrogacy. There was a choice between Georgia, India and Russia. Speaking about Georgia there are many cases when surrogate mothers refused to give the baby to parents. And legislation there is not so good. Surrogacy in India is forbidden now. So I`ll skip it. In Russia the legislation is horrible. Only after surrogate mother refuse from the baby parents are allowed to adopt it! So it is a sort of adoption. In Ukraine surrogate mother from the very beginning has no rights to decide the fate of the baby.

  10. Victoria Baldwin says:

    I think that it should be noted that the process of surrogacy is rather difficult. Moreover it`s time-consuming and too expensive for many people. Also if you want to use surrogacy service you must be officially married. While contacting the centers of reproduction you need carefully consult with your doctor. He must diagnose infertility and give you the relevant document. Surrogacy can be also used after several unsuccessful attempts of IVF. Also do not forget that only a medical specialist can diagnose infertility. And only doctor may recommend performing procedures with the use of assisted reproductive technologies. Because there are many people who give birth to their children themselves, after using surrogacy service.

  11. ivf price in india says:

    Thanks for sharing the best posts they very nice and very help us you made a good site it’s very impressive one. I got such a good information on this topic it’s very interesting one I am very satisfied with your site and your posts they very useful to us and amazing.

  12. Melissa says:

    Wow. To be honest I was surprised so much by this article. And I can’t absolutely agree with the idea of old parents. I think that there are much more problems than pluses. For example, I can’t even imagine what these parents will do in future. As soon as their kids will grow up they will have some problems. We all know what does it mean the rebellious age! That will be pretty difficult period for kids, especially if your parents are over 70 years old. To be honest it is strange that the Biotexcom agreed to do this. Once I also send them an application – I just wanted to get into the program that costs 30k euros, but they rejected to me! Of course, they said in the polite form but I can’t agree that even if I wanted to be a single parent, I could be worse than such couple. I mean that I am really happy that nowadays almost every person can get a child but I don’t think that it is so necessary to do this for couples in years.

  13. Lana says:

    I know one woman from Germany, who gave birth to 4 children in her middle sixties. She did IVF in one of Ukrainian clinics. It is famous because many women of such age performed the same operations there. There was also one woman from Sweden who gave birth to a healthy child being impregnate in biotexcom. Of course, there are such cases, when IVF can`t be performed. Bur doctors always check everything carefully, especially when it is about women of such age.

  14. melanie@7 says:

    7 years of trying, 6 failed IUIs, and an IVF cycle that was called off, to finally have 1 single additional test done that could have told us 7 years ago that it wasn’t going to happen. I was so mad at the universe and everyone around me. I couldn’t hear anything about other people having babies. It was more than I could handle. I played it off that I didn’t like children, just so that no one would ask me why we weren’t having kids. My husband was afraid to talk to me about any of our friends having kids, because he never knew how badly I would take it. Sometimes I wish they had done that ONE test from the get go and we could have just moved forward vs being in the ‘spin cycle’ for 7 long years. But then looking back maybe it was almost better that it gave me time to start to process. Even once we had confirmed that DE surrogacy was our only path I still needed time. We took a couple years off. We diid some traveling to really see if something really did seem like it was missing. Ultimately for me the answer was 
    YES. Even then it took sometime to get it straight in my mind. I’m sure no matter what you want this family and that you are ok with it, any hesitance will only make the process that much harder. Also you should know if you want to be open about the process or you will be open with your child about how hard you worked to have them. I have found that this subject is a tough one to talk to people about. It isn’t widely accepted for everyone. Just like IVF15 years ago was still only whispered about DE surrogacy is there now. But it’s making progress by people being open and talking about it. Just like this valuable post. Another side of the question is that surrogacy cost in US 50k vs package of 29k in Ukraine sounds really great!

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