I often only learn about surrogate pregnancy cases that go bad because of a social media post or a GoFundMe account has been set up to provide for the needs of those harmed by commercial contract pregnancy arrangements. Most of the time though, these campaigns are launched because the surrogate mother has died, and crowdfunding is set up to provide financially for the widower and the surrogate mother’s children who have been orphaned.
And now, I find in my inbox a new tragic story of a baby born of surrogacy who has been abandoned in war torn Kyiv. And it was only because of this GoFundMe campaign set up to raise money to care for the little boy born with special needs that I learned of his plight. As has happened before, this couple decided to split up before the birth of the little boy and now that he has been born with special needs, he’s been abandoned as the father claims to not be prepared to care for his son.
Only last week I read a Reddit post by a surrogate mother stating that she was carrying twins for a couple who had now decided to divorce and no longer wanted the babies. This thread blew up with likes and comments and for reasons I don’t know the moderator removed the original post but has left the comments up. I fortunately have screenshots of the original post and the removal of the post notice by the moderator.
But back to this little abandoned baby boy. One of the updates on the GoFundMe which was established April 13, 2022 says this, “with the help of a wonderful agency (World Centre of Baby) who have offered to arrange and pay for the ambulance to move this precious baby out of Ukraine, I hope we can get him moved soon. With the help of all your donations, I can make sure his medical bills are paid, the Ukrainian legal fees are paid and we have everything we need to have him moved.”
Let’s look at just how wonderful the World Centre of Baby is. Their website touts that they will guide you all the way and that they are a “full-service surrogacy agency” helping to create new life while protecting the interests and safety of both the intended parents and the surrogates they hire. They boast their services make for safe, easy, and life-changing journeys for the intended parents, the egg donors they use and the surrogates too. And because the World Centre of Baby is based in Ukraine, they brag about their cost estimates of $35,000 and their full-service team that handles all the details even the legal work and social support.
What is glaringly missing though is any focus on or concern for the children. They want intended parents to have a trouble-free journey and their egg donors and surrogate mothers to be treated safely but where on their website to they show an ounce of concern for this little boy who has been abandoned? Why isn’t this agency on the hook for his medical bills? Why aren’t the biological parents held to account here? Why do legal fees to the Ukrainian government need to be paid?
When I posted this campaign on my personal social media, I immediately received so many comments from people saying, things like, “I’ll take this sweet baby”.
I would love to know how much money the World Centre of Baby makes off the baby-trade? But for now, all the World Centre of Baby has offered is to “arrange and pay for the ambulance” to move the baby out of their country. Seems they just want to do away with this baby as fast as they can and get back to making money.
The most recent update on this baby’s case is posted on the Facebook page of the Ukrainian New Hope Surrogacy agency, stating that they had, “informed the Consulate, reached out to the lawyers, surrogacy groups for support in this case…” and the baby will now be moved to the United Kingdom for adoption. As the goal from the GoFundMe is to move the child back to his country of citizenship, I am making an educated guess that his parents are U.K. citizens. Babies are not born with return policies, and I hope the U.K. government charges these parents with neglect, child endangerment and abandonment.
- Jennifer Lahl is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.