Surrogate motherhood, which is so popular around the world, is not allowed in Great Britain. Law is the main component of this issue. Newborn regardless of the method must be registered after birth.
In 1985 British law stated that legal mother of the child is considered to be a woman who carried and gave birth to him. But in those days practice of surrogate motherhood was not as popular as it can be seen today. In addition laws of the last century did not take into account the fact this method of reproductive medicine will develop so extremely.
In this regard in 1990 this issue was resolved and now child born to a surrogate mother can be recognized as the legitimate child of genetic parents without a court order. In fact, only non-commercial surrogacy is permitted in Great Britain (unlike, for example, Russia and Ukraine, where such programs are legalized and can be conducted both on voluntary and commercial basis). In Great Britain biological parents and surrogate mother can enter into an agreement that is made on a legal basis but nevertheless has no legal force. Because of this it is impossible to form a real statistics of surrogate pregnancies in Britain since a lot of such agreements are made without any legal documentation.
Despite the fact that surrogacy can be freely carried out on the territory of the United Kingdom the majority of residents travel to Ukraine to visit local centers for human reproduction. Third world country that falls behind European states attracts thousands of foreign infertile couples who travel to Ukraine from all over the world.
Since the topic of infertility is close to me in fact rather than in word (I’ve had three miscarriages and reaching the age of 47 years I cannot get pregnant) I decided to carry out a journalistic investigation to find out what is this mysterious clinic (BioTexCom center for human reproduction) that so fiercely attracts foreign residents.
In one’s sleep I found all the necessary information about the needed center (http://mother-surrogate.info/) and started a chat with the clinic manager (employee who answers all the questions of English-speaking clients and helps to pass the selected program). I retold her story of my infertility. Lady asked me a few questions concerning medical part, and told me that in my case, clinic could offer me a program of surrogacy with donor eggs. After that she informed me in details about this program. When I expressed a desire to come directly to the clinic the manager asked me to send her results of my medical tests that I had and conclusion of doctor that I really couldn’t conceive and bear a child in a natural way and for what reason. BioTexCom worker explained me she would translate all these documents, center’s doctor would examine them and only than I would be said the date of first medical consultation.
I did everything that was required and soon I received an invitation to visit a doctor. My husband and I bought a plane tickets, on the appointed date, and with a genuine interest flew in the little-known to us Ukraine. In the capital’s airport we were met by the driver of the clinic, he kindly helped us to carry our luggage to the bus and said that we could sit down and wait for an hour because he needed to meet some more patients. In the car we saw another couple who also waited. It was a comfortable car interior with TV set and chairs. Having gathered all patients together the driver carried us.
We were brought in one of clinic’s accommodation (special hostels for center’s clients). On the way there we curiously looked at the views from the window: somewhere it was beautiful, somewhere seedy but it was extremely green everywhere. Kiev is really a city of parks, as it is wrote everywhere and very “turbulent”! Roads are probably the worst problem of the state of Ukraine. Only after driving from the airport a terrible things began: all the way we were thrown up inside the car, it seemed that we were not on the metropolitan highway but over a plowed field. And despite the fact that both car and driver were very good we came out of it with a green faces and rocking a little after such a trip.
Having come to the hotel (in the Petropavlavskaya Borshchagovka district) we saw not really fresh room in which other clients of the clinic lived. Some of them already had newborns. My husband and I were said that we could have a rest and the next day we would be taken by the driver to the clinic. In our accommodation we talked to couples who had already become happy parents. They told me that of course conditions and service were not at the appropriate level nevertheless BioTexCom works wonders in reproductive medicine.
From the first, second IVF attempt doctor achieves needed positive result and parents get so long-awaited children. And the cost of similar services in Ukraine is lower than in Europe where such programs as surrogacy and egg donation are legalized. People from all over the world travel to BioTexCom and turn a blind eye to the underdeveloped infrastructure of the country and certain disadvantages in the level of clinic’s service.
So, let’s return to our investigation. We were not able to have a normal night’s sleep in the hotel. Because there were couples with newborn children, they cried all night and parents went from room to room talking emotionally. Early in the morning we went to the clinic.
In the clinic we were met by the manager with whom I charted online. She was a pleasant, well — dressed lady, about 29 years old, she invited us to sit down and wait. Turning around we did not find free place where we could sit down as clinic was relatively small and there were a great number of patients in it! Someone sat on a small couch in the lobby, someone on the stairs near the entrance. People spoke different languages: English, German, French, and Italian etc. Among them managers could be seen who fluently spoke these languages. We waited for about 1.5 hour until we were invited to see a doctor.
During the waiting time we had an opportunity to communicate with some patients and found that specialists of the BioTexCom really work wonders in the field of reproductive medicine and that’s why foreigners are willing to turn a blind eye to the imperfect service in order to get the status of happy parents of healthy baby.
In 1.5 hour our manager finally invited us to the doctor’s cabinet. Communication with him was not so long. The doctor asked questions regarding my and husband’s health. Then doctor reaffirmed a decision that we were recommended surrogacy with donor eggs and wrote out the form on the standard medical tests for my husband (since my genetic material will not be used).
Next, our English speaking manager took us to the manipulation room for passing all necessary analyzes. In addition my husband’s sperm was also tested. To get to the manipulation room we also had to wait about 20 minutes because there was a waiting list and nurse all the time was running here and there.
It took us about 3 hours to complete all these elementary procedures whereas in European hospitals all these take about 15 minutes. Oh well. As it is said it gets worse and worse as it goes on. Our consultant explained to us that since this surrogacy program with donor eggs we could immediately sign the contract. Because only after the contract signing and first payment (6 thousand euro), our program would be activated: doctors would start selection of appropriate donor, surrogate mother and their stimulation (using special medicines). Our participation in this process was not required. My husband just had to come to the clinic on the day of puncture (taking eggs from a donor). My husband’s sperm would be combined with donor eggs and within five days of mature embryo transfer would be performed to a surrogate mother.
The fact that BioTexCom produces embryo transfer on the fifth day also speaks volumes. In many clinics such practice are not used and as a result patients have many failed IVF attempts. A lot of people are not aware of the fact that the fifth day is the perfect period of embryo development and thus there are more chances for a successful pregnancy at the end.
But, let’s back to my story. Result of my husband’s spermogram was ready in a moment. And we were surprised because he is 54 years old nevertheless his sperm was in a very good condition and fertilization could be made very easily and efficiently.
After our question concerning how fast our program would start manager replied that due to the great number of patients, women who were willing to bear a child is off. So we had to wait for about half a year. My husband and I referring to the long- term period of expectation refused and said that maybe we would back a little later. The driver took us to the airport at the appointed time and we successfully flew home.
Communicating with people who have already gone through such a serious and complex program as a surrogate motherhood and basing on my own experience it’s safe to say that Ukraine really wins in the field of reproductive medicine. And numerous articles in the internet that BioTexCom is a leader using assisted methods of reproductive medicine are justified. In addition Ukrainian prices for such procedures pleasantly surprise. For example, the surrogacy program will cost you 29.900 euro. This price includes everything you might need as a foreigner in a new country: driver, translator, accommodation, meal and so on. And the most important aspect is that BioTexCom clinic can provide patient with an unlimited number of attempts until successful pregnancy will be reached. Let us suppose Ukraine is considered to be a third world country that lags behind other European countries in development by all indicators and has roads as ploughed land but it does not prevent Ukrainian doctors give happiness to people all over the world and help them in such an important issue of a global importance as continuation of human genus.
Freelance journalist Kerry Chak