Growing Families has a decade of experience of working with government and agencies during crises to guide parents and their newborns through safe exit processes. These have included a military coup in Thailand, earthquakes in Nepal, sudden changes in laws in India and Cambodia and of course airspace closures in Ukraine during the worst of Covid.
On 24 February significant hostilities were launched in Ukraine and commercial flights have currently ceased
Please ensure your agency can provide a nanny service with the Power of Attorney you have in place in case you cannot travel. Also ask your agency about road transport options to and from the Ukraine border in case commercial flights are not available. Growing Families can organise drivers if required
Most western countries travel advice for the entire Ukraine has been elevated, advising its citizens not to travel
Surrogacy agencies and governments are implementing safety plans. These may include fast-tracking of exit paperwork, movement of surrogates to locations further from the Russian and Belarus borders and interim nanny arrangements.
What should you do?
If you are in Ukraine currently, please advise your local embassy of your whereabouts. For example, Australians in Ukraine should register their details on https://crisis.dfat.gov.au/crisisportal/s/
If you have an upcoming birth in Ukraine in the next one to eight months, do not panic.
Q: Our airline has cancelled our flights. What do we do?
A: Many airlines are cancelling flights. It is strongly advised to book flights through an experienced travel agent rather than online. Road travel into Ukraine remains possible across the border with Poland
Q: Can just one parent travel?
A: In recent months Ukraine changed their processes to require both parents to be physically present for a birth certificate to be issued. Currently, unless you submit a strong case for why the second parent cannot travel (do this months ahead via your agency), both parents must travel.
Q: Can my surrogate come to my country or a neighbouring country to deliver?
No this is not possible under Ukraine law. Your agency may, if tensions escalate further, move your surrogate to a city even further from the Russian border such as Lviv.
Q: Can I give power of attorney to someone else or a government official to do the paperwork and bring my child to my country?
A: This is not possible under Ukraine law
Q: My employer is refusing me permission to travel for a birth. What do I do?
A: Some employers such as Defence departments have policies refusing to allow staff to travel at certain risk levels. It is important you attempt to apply for an exemption to such a policy and/or notify your Ukraine agency, so they can apply for an exception
Q: What if commercial flights are not available and I need to travel?
A: Growing Families has significant experience in bringing in expecting parents across Ukraine’s land borders with Poland and Belarus if required
Q: My surrogate is about to undertake an embryo transfer. Should I proceed?
A: Take the advice of your agency. It seems unlikely that your surrogate or surrogacy agency would be at risk, given Russia has a track-record of permissive laws for heterosexual foreigners engaging in surrogacy.
Q: I am not comfortable continuing further transfers in Ukraine. Can I relocate my embryos elsewhere to similar programs?
A: This may be possible. Growing Families has a reliable courier partner in the region and facilitate shipping to reliable, similarly priced programs. Contact us at https://www.growingfamilies.org/support-options/
Q: Where can I find out more?
A: Growing Families events in Dublin and London in the weeks ahead will have expert speakers addressing these issues