In this article, I want to show you the picture of the current situation of fertility treatment in Ukraine and also tell you the story of how we have managed the lockdowns in Ukraine and all over the world. I know that some intended parents are quite confused about what to expect and how it all works now in the new reality.
First of all, I want to say that we are totally fine and operating in full, actually, we have never stopped operating during the quarantine measures. In the early spring, when the lockdown happened, we were not nervous or panicking, the main attention was focused on the safety of pregnant surrogate mothers and the preventive measures. As new parents could not travel to visit us for the signing of contracts, we were postponing all first visits for later and have developed new approaches for international surrogacy journeys, like shipping embryos and sperm for IVF procedures, signing contracts online, or using post couriers for sending related documentation in originals when parents could stay home and organize the start of the program by our guidance. I am very proud of the fact that not a single couple has suffered from not being able to pick up the babies from the maternity house or arrive in time for the discharge or birth of babies. We were in constant contact with the special government structures that helped us receive the necessary documentation to enter Ukrainian territory when no foreigners were allowed to enter without a serious reason. Surrogacy was a serious reason to enter then and we managed the documents and logistics for such entrance. I know that some fertility clinics in Ukraine and surrogacy agencies in Ukraine suffered from the lockdown as parents could not cross the border, but we have never had such issues, as we have got assistance from the Ombudsman for Human Rights in Ukraine and knew exactly what documentation was required for intended parents to cross the border, our legal experience helped us a lot. Most parents were able to see their babies very soon after the birth and did not encounter any difficulties regarding the matter. There was always an issue with the flight tickets at the beginning of the quarantine worldwide and it is still challenging, but it is getting better for sure.
Why you should not give up on a dream of parenthood!
The situation with the worldwide measures changes every day, but one thing we can see clearly – the travel is possible and parents always can pick up their babies with supportive documents, so this is a big relief to many intended parents that were frustrated at the beginning of this worldwide situation. Looks like we will need to learn how to live in this reality with the virus for a while, but we can’t stop or postpone the dream to become parents, especially if there are possibilities to do it, with special measures, with help of professionals, lawyers, and medical workers, but we still move towards the dream of parenthood. We've had a wonderful assistance from Sam from Growing Families (Australia) in helping parents to receive permission to travel out from Australia for baby births, sometimes such a situation in the world shows who your true partners are.
What is the situation now?
Currently, we actively sign contracts with intended parents online and ship sperm and embryos using our partners' shipping companies. There is no lockdown in Ukraine at the moment for foreigners. Parents arrive for the beginning of the program with negative COVID tests even from red zone countries, about 60% of all couples use the option to skip the first visit and start remotely. All the meetings and fertility doctor’s consultations are conducted online via Zoom or Skype. Some Embassies were pretty helpful during the assistance for baby passports and had made it as less stressful as possible for parents.