Hundreds of surrogate babies stranded by lockdown in Ukraine

A doctor in a special suit walks through the corridor of an intensive care unit at a hospital in Chernivtsi last week. (AP pic)

KIEV: More than 100 babies born to surrogate mothers have been stranded in Ukraine as their foreign parents cannot collect them due to border closures imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said on Thursday.

Ukraine’s borders were closed in March as a result of the virus outbreak.

“In total, more than 100 children in Ukraine are waiting for their parents in various medical centres,” Ukraine’s Ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova told reporters.

That number will grow the longer the lockdown is extended, she said.

Denisova said that 51 newborns were being housed at a Kiev hotel which is owned by one of the clinics in the capital.

Fifteen of these 51 babies were with their parents while the other 36 were in the care of clinic staff.

Denisova said they were due to be collected by parents from countries including the US, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany.

BioTexCom, the facility in question, has released a video showing dozens of newborns lying side by side in separate cots and being cared for by employees.

Denisova said the clinic appealed to Ukraine’s foreign ministry to facilitate the arrival of babies’ parents but the issue has not yet been resolved.

Commercial surrogacy is illegal in most European countries but permitted in Ukraine.

One of the poorest European countries, post-Soviet Ukraine is an increasingly popular destination for foreigners looking for surrogate mothers.