The war in Ukraine has reached the courts of France, but in a totally unexpected dimension. Five couples have been denounced by an association of jurists in favor of children for having brought Ukrainian pregnant women to give birth to their children in France and deliver the babies to them, as stated in the contract with the surrogacy companies. The use of so-called ‘wombs for rent’ is illegal in France and in general in all Western countries, but it is legal in Ukraine where not even the war has been able to stop it.
The complainant association complains that the French Justice frequently looks the other way when couples arrive from Ukraine with the adopted baby, and they believe that the opportunity to judge the blatant crime of bringing the mothers could now put an end to what it considers an “outrage” against the rights of the child.
In Spain, where many couples without children also resort to surrogacy in the Ukraine, the trade in wombs for rent is also illegal, but the Sánchez government has just lost the opportunity to regulate how to prosecute it in the approved draft of the abortion law.
After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, hundreds of ‘clients’ of the Ukrainian surrogacy companies have desperately tried to locate the women who carry the male gametes -in the case of the traditional technique- or the fertilized eggs of the parents they want to adopt. Ukrainian companies generally prevent the occurrence of no direct contact with pregnant womenand assure clients the ‘safety of gestation’ despite the hardships of war.
On the eve of the conflict, the most important company, BioTexCom published a documentary where hundreds of pregnant Ukrainian women are observed in bunkers near kyiv and Kharkiv, where according to the firm they do not lack any attention. In some cases, they are allowed to go abroad, to nearby countries, on the condition that they return to Ukraine to give birth, under the threat of 15 years in prison for breach of contract, in addition to not receiving the last payment installments. .
The pecuniary attraction, even more so in these times, is undeniable. A Ukrainian woman can earn between 15,000 and 20,000 euros for the 9 months of pregnancy, that is, several years of average salary. Ukrainian surrogacy firms usually charge foreign couples up to 40,000 euros per baby. When they are born, they are in charge of providing them with a Ukrainian passport, so that they can be legally adopted by clients in the country.
The case denounced in France breaks that dynamic and tests the will of the European Justice to put a stop to the trade in children. Being an illegal practice outside their country, Ukrainian mothers who give birth in other nations automatically become the legal parents, and cannot give the baby up for adoption even if there is a contract.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism