Now in the CIS, there are 20 to 30% of couples who experience all kinds of problems with conception. All over the world this percentage is about 20. An impressive figure to think about the problems of humanity.
Of course, not all these couples need such serious treatment as IVF or surrogacy. And there are no exact statistics on the couples who have conceived children by this method because fertility clinics are very careful to protect the patients’ right to confidentiality. Surrogacy is particularly carefully concealed since the disputes about it do not subside to this day. A baby’s biological parents closely guard this secret, and surrogate mothers often also do their best not to let their experience become public knowledge. Our society is very sensitive to the fact that a woman is not conceiving a child for herself. Biological mothers even often take maternity leave and pretend to be pregnant for their loved ones so that they do not have to explain the appearance of the child afterwards.
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In Ukraine, surrogacy is fully regulated by law: according to this law, the gestational courier (surmama) is obliged to give up the baby, because the baby is genetically alien to her; its parents are the couple whose cells were used for IVF (in-vitro fertilization, or insemination “in vitro”). The biological parents, in turn, are obliged to take the baby, even if they divorced or changed their minds during the treatment.
Surrogacy is the only and last chance for women who have had their uterus removed or missing, or who have serious contraindications for pregnancy and delivery (such as heart disease). Oocytes, or germ cells, are taken from both parents, sperm from the man and egg from the woman, which are combined in the laboratory. When an embryo develops from these cells, it is transferred to the body of the surrogate to be carried and born.
The pioneer in surrogacy was Great Britain – it was there, in 1989, that the first child carried by a gestational courier was born. It was a real miracle – a woman, who was unable to bear a child herself, was able to take her own baby. Six years later, in 1995, the first surrogate mother appeared in the CIS.
In Ukraine, a baby from a surrogate mother was first born in Kharkiv, where a woman with a congenital lack of uterus was helped to carry and give birth to her baby by her own mother. After giving birth, she distanced herself from the young family to avoid moral dilemmas. The baby had long since grown, was developing normally, and was doing fine. This was a real event in Ukrainian medicine.
According to various sources, there are currently between 1,500 and 250,000 children worldwide who were born to surrogate mothers. Exact numbers are not being disclosed, since clinics are very careful to protect the confidentiality of their clients. But despite this number, the attitude towards surrogacy is still ambiguous.