Mr. President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky,
Paris on May 11th, 2010
We have been alerted by the shocking pictures posted online by Biotexcom,, a clinic in Kyiv which offers assisted fertilization and surrogacy services to “intended parents” from all countries.
Biotexcom has improvised a large nursery (called “maternal room” despite the absence of mothers) in the lobby of the Hotel Venezia, where 46 newborns and infants from a few hours to a few weeks old, delivered by surrogate mothers against payment by the intended parents, citizens of many countries of the world, including Italy, Spain, France …
Given the actual pandemic measures, the “clients” cannot travel to Ukraine to pick up the commissioned children, who are literally crammed into a hotel waiting to be released.
Despite Biotexcom’s assurances, there is no certainty as to the state of psychophysical health of these children or their adequate care.
The use of surrogacy is prohibited in many countries in the world. Elsewhere, where it is widely practised, surrogacy has been expressly recognised by the United Nations Special Rapporteur as the sale of children as defined in the Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Report 2018).
At the European level, as soon as 2015 the European parliament has condemned the practice of surrogacy “which undermines the human dignity of the woman since her body and its reproductive functions are used as a commodity; [the Europeann Parliament] considers that the practice of gestational surrogacy which involves reproductive exploitation and use of the human body for financial or other gain, in particular in the case of vulnerable women in developing countries, shall be prohibited and treated as a matter of urgency in human rights instruments ”(§115 European Parliament resolution of 17 December 2015 on the 2014 annual report on human rights and democracy in the world and on the politics of the European Union in this area (2015/2229 (INI))
The situation of these children, stranded in Ukraine because of the protective measures related to the current pandemic, is symptomatic is symptomatic of the harms due to transnational surrogacy.
Therefore, as the International Coalition for the Abolition of Surrogate Motherhood (ICASM), we request that, in the immediate future, measures be taken to ensure the best safety of these newborn babies:
It would be:
- Collect information on Biotexcom and other Ukrainian clinics offering surrogacy services and which currently detain children in total violation of the most basic human rights;
- Verify the actual health and living conditions of the children;
- Check whether the birth of these children has been registered in any way in accordance with Ukraine administrative rules in order to avoid the risk that anyone could appropriate them for any purpose;
- Verify how many and who are the “clients” of Biotexcom and other clinics;
- Avoid special authorisations being granted to the intended parents, by way of derogation from the lockdown safety measures, to travel to Ukraine in order to “remove” the children;
- Take all necessary measures for these children in Ukrainian clinics, preferably entrusting them to the gestational mothers, or, if they cannot or do not intend to take care of them, to host families or, failing that, refer them for adoption.
It is obvious that this critical situation has been brought about by Ukraine permissive laws on surrogacy and lack of adequate public controls on this activity: clinics, lawyers and intermediaries who perform or contribute to it.
We hope that you share our great concern for the current situation and the fate of these newborns and will soon take appropriate measures.
Ana-luana Stoicea Deram and Marie Josèphe Devillers vice-presidents of the International Colaition for the Abolition of the Surrogate Motherhood.