War has exposed the questionable practice of commercial surrogacy in Ukraine – Gript

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The war in Ukraine has raised awkward questions about international surrogacy and the rights of vulnerable women in conflict zones. What happens to the surrogate and the child when geopolitical events upset the commercial arrangements of childbearing?

On 24 February 2022, Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, focusing international attention on the possibility of an expanding international conflict. Most international focus has been on the geopolitical implications of Russia’s invasion. But the invasion also significantly disrupted Ukraine’s commercial surrogacy industry, bringing the intersection between private life, intimacy, reproduction and caregiving, and the commercialisation of reproduction, the “hiring” women’s bodies, and the economic and power inequalities inherent in the practice, into the light. An opportunity therefore exists to examine and reframe the scope of our understanding of foreign policy, making explicit the connections between private lives and decisions and international relations.

Surrogacy refers to the practice of one woman bearing a child for another person or couple. This can be either “genetic” surrogacy, wherein the surrogate mother’s egg and the intended father’s sperm is used, or “gestational” surrogacy, wherein the surrogate mother contributes no genetic material. The intended parents may, therefore, contribute all, half or none of the genetic material, meaning that the child may be genetically related to neither, one or both intended parents.

In Australia, altruistic surrogacy is lawful and regulated across all states and territories with the exception of the Northern Territory, which does not have any laws relating to surrogacy. Commercial surrogacy is not legal. The difficulties associated with adoption and altruistic surrogacy, combined with the social and personal desire to have a child or family, causes Australians to seek surrogacy abroad, often ending up in commercial arrangements. Because commercial surrogacy is not legal in Australia, such surrogacy arrangements are brokered through agencies working in some jurisdictions in the United States, Canada, Greece, Georgia, Ukraine, and Russia.


War has exposed the questionable practice of commercial surrogacy in Ukraine – Gript

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