Ukraine is the new ‘go-to’ destination for couples desperate to be parents. But our investigation uncovers an industry out of control that exploits surrogate mothers and leaves babies abandoned.
With international surrogacy now banned in Thailand and India, a thriving industry has sprung up in Ukraine, attracting heterosexual couples from around the world, including Australia.
But how much do would-be parents really know about the business which delivers their baby?
In Motherland, Europe correspondent Samantha Hawley goes behind the slick surrogacy websites and glossy brochures to expose the industry’s dark underbelly.
In a 6-month investigation, Foreign Correspondent meets those caught up in Ukraine’s baby business and uncovers an industry with few rules and fewer scruples.
“It was a reckless decision to make, because we didn’t have all the facts,” says English woman ‘Kate’ who turned to surrogacy after an illness left her unable to have a child.
When the birth of her baby boy in Ukraine went badly, Kate couldn’t get him the urgent medical help he needed. She realised she was out of her depth. Now she worries about the long-term health effects on her baby.
“They don’t treat you as a human being,” says one birth mother, who signed up as a surrogate to feed her family after the war with Russia left her homeless.
To earn a small fee, she endured forced terminations, caesareans and callous treatment at the hands of her agency. “Surrogate mothers…we’re just a flow of incubators,” she says.
We tracked down a little girl living in a children’s home in south-east Ukraine. She had been rejected by her American parents and was stateless and an orphan.
This is a common story, says Ukraine’s Children’s Ombudsman, who has reports of at least 10 children left behind by the parents and agencies who ‘commissioned’ them.
“This is an immoral business,” says the Ombudsman.
And we put hard questions to the owner of one of Ukraine’s biggest surrogacy agencies, a man who was recently under house arrest facing charges of child trafficking and tax avoidance.
Join us for this gripping and gut-wrenching tale.
Read More Here: https://ab.co/2MqGa1o
Foreign Correspondent is the prime-time international public affairs program on Australia's national broadcaster, ABC-TV. We produce half-hour duration in-depth reports for broadcast across the ABC's television channels and digital platforms. Since 1992, our teams have journeyed to more than 170 countries to report on war, natural calamity and social and political upheaval – through the eyes of the people at the heart of it all.