Surrogate motherhood in Ukraine: the gate is open

Petro Husak, Ph.D.
Institute of Marriage and Family Life
Ukrainian Catholic University

Surrogate motherhood in Ukraine: the gate is open

In fact, in Ukraine is already laid a legal basis for spread and practice of surrogate motherhood (SM). In the Family Code [1] are two articles, which regulate relationships arousing from an application of SM. So, Article 123, p. 2 says : “If an ovum conceived by the spouses is implanted to another woman, the spouses shall be the parents of the child”; and the Article 139, p. 2 prohibits for a surrogate mother the claiming of motherhood and contesting maternal affiliation of a legally registered mother. In correspondence to it, two deputies of Ukrainian Parliament (Kaplienko and Zadyrko, both – former members of BYUT-faction) proposed a bill on SM .[2] “If you don’t know, what about is going on, be sure – it is about money”: The bill aims to direct the budget costs into the planned State program of SM, which should be conducted in state as well as in private clinics at the state expense, whereas the prices of the services are (in comparison with average income) considerably high. [3] One expects 1500 cases of SM in year, for what is envisaged to withdraw from the budget ca. 140 millions UAH yearly. The bill prescribes the procedure of hiring Ukrainian surrogate mothers by foreign couples – such a possibility confirms only the already spread label of Ukraine as a worldwide center of SM. The bill claims to establish an equality of surrogate mothers with normal mothers in the sense of their acceptability in public opinion (for to present the surrogate motherhood as an “ordinary” phenomenon), equal eligibility for jobs and equal right on maternity leave. It is an attempt to abolish the alleged discrimination of surrogate mothers, which in fact turns into discrimination of normal mothers by placing on the same footing with them persons, who are not mothers, but hired bearers. (The SM is not a true motherhood, because it eliminates essential elements of it – the truly human conception, maternal affection, breastfeeding, raising the child, education, and is reduced to only one aspect of it: the biological bearing). In the bill, there is also a discrimination of surrogate mothers by forbidding them any contact with the child they have born. In the explanatory report, the need of a state support of SM is grounded by the demographical decline, which is, in face of free accessible abortion, high abortion rates and numbers of children, abandoned for adoption, hypocrisy.
Concerning the moral evaluation of SM:
1. Each case of SM is connected with an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and shares its immorality: it separates the beginning of life of a human person from the loving embrace of his/her parents – the person becomes not conceived in love, but made on the laboratory table – as “product” .[4] There are produced more embryos than will be implanted. The rest is frozen, and their fate with high probability is research purposes and utilization. As usually, there are implanted three embryos, in hope, that at least one nidates. Insofar as only one child is ordered, after nidation one makes a “reduction of embryos” – selective abortion through the poison injection in each “superfluous” embryo. [5]
2. The surrogate mother is only a hired bearer, who should give a ready product to the customers immediately after birth. Therefore, she coerces herself to avoid any psychological and emotional bond, which normally arises between mother and child during the pregnancy, and abides in an abnormal psychological (and moral) condition, which is highly detrimental for both, her and the child.
3. The commercialization of motherhood is immoral, and it is plain for every unprejudiced mind.
4. There is only one case, in which SM would be morally good: if it would be possible to transplant a child, rescuing it from an ektopic pregnancy or rescuing the woman, whose life is threatened by pregnancy. [6]
These views I presented 2005 in a pro-SM talk show with Masha Ephrosinina on the ICTV channel. There was a surrogate mother, who despite her paid mission to look brave, was psychologically broken and said finally: “I want only to look once at that child – only once…”


[1] See:

[2] No. 4647 from 11.06.2009,

[3] E.g., the one IVF costs 15 000 UAH, medical assistance – 10 000 UAH, state assistance – 5 000 UAH, social benefit for 1 child, born such a way – 5 000 UAH, and the fee for a surrogate mother for one cycle – 30 600 UAH or the 1800 minimal untaxed month salaries, which is inappropriately higher than an average income of women engaged in production.

[4] Remarkably, the case of IVF/SM and the case of abortion show the same approach to the child: in both cases it is treated as a “thing”, which in the first case is extremely wanted, ant then should be “ordered” and “made”, and in the second case it is unwanted, therefore it should be “thrown away”.

[5] See my article in Ukrainian: Петро Гусак. Моральні та правові аспекти допоміжних репродуктивних технологій. –

[6] Cf.: Andreas Laun. Thesen zur ethischen Bewertung der In-Vitro-Fertilisation (IVF), in: Aktuelle Probleme der Moraltheologie (Herder: Wien, 1992); p. 146.