Nearly 50 surrogate babies from several countries — including the US — are crammed into a dormitory at a Ukraine hotel and cannot be picked up by their families during the coronavirus lockdown, troubling new video shows.
Staff at the BioTexCom Center for Human Reproduction in the capital city of Kiev are caring for some 46 crying newborns as the country has completely closed its borders due to the pandemic.
Infants staying there are from the US, the UK, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, China, Mexico and other countries, according to the video, apparently made to ease parents’ concerns, and posted by the clinic on April 30.
A female voice narrating the video says, “We show babies to the parents online and our managers arrange calls.”
“It is necessary for us to inform parents about how much their babies eat, how they sleep and what their weight is,” the video continues. “It is heartbreaking to see how parents miss their little ones. We wish they were allowed to pick up their children soon.”
An administrator who identifies herself as Marina says that the infants are cared for 24 hours a day in a baby room, and “every day [caretakers] spend some time with the children in the open air and bathe them.”
The babies are also checked by doctors, according to the video.
“So do not worry, your babies’ health is in good hands,” the narrator says.
However, the clip has alarmed the human rights ombudsman for the Ukrainian parliament, Liudmila Denisova, the Daily Mail reported.
“A video was spread on social media and shared via a website of one of Kiev clinics,” Denisova told the outlet. “It showed 46 babies who are currently in one of the Kiev hotels. All these babies were born by surrogate mothers for citizens of various foreign states.”
“This video confirms that the situation with the provision of surrogacy services by this clinic is mass and systemic, and surrogacy technologies are advertised and presented as ‘high quality goods,’” she added.
The center’s website states that “It’s not a secret that surrogacy programs are banned almost everywhere in Europe.”
“Egg donation is allowed only in a few countries but quite often these programs offer not very favorable conditions (for patients, as well as for donors),” it says. “In Ukraine, however, all these programs are absolutely legal. That’s why Europeans seek for medical help outside of their home countries.”
Ukraine has become a hub for “legal conducting” of programs like surrogacy and egg donation “for most citizens of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, England and other countries,” according to the website.
A total of 16,847 coronavirus cases and 456 deaths have been reported in Ukraine, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics.