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‘It’s going to be hugely stressful’ – Irish couples expecting babies via surrogacy in Ukraine urged to contact DFA

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Sara Byrne

Sara Byrne

Sara Byrne

Irish couples expecting babies via surrogacy in Ukraine are expected to receive special diplomatic assistance amid concerns over the security situation there.

Around 16 families have contacted Fine Gael senator Mary Seery-Kearney after she urged them to put plans in place “for whatever arises”.

Ms Seery-Kearney, who told the Seanad fourteen babies are due to be born in Ukraine between now and May, said she has had a “lot of reaction”.

“We believed it was 14, but I’ve had more emails than that. It would suggest others are only becoming aware of their need to act now,” she told Independent.ie.

“The response from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to reassure them and make sure there are contingency plans has been excellent.”

It is understood the DFA will provide special diplomatic assistance to Irish couples expecting babies to be born in the coming months.

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Sara Byrne, spokesperson for the Irish Families Through Surrogacy group, said it is working with all families and liaising with parents as any new information comes to light.

“The DFA has requested intended parents due to travel soon or who are currently there to register on their website,” she said.

“We have confidence that the DFA will assist parents like they helped couples during the height of the pandemic when couples from other countries could not even travel.”

Ms Byrne said a number of Irish couples are currently in Ukraine and are reporting “no difference” on the ground.

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Couples usually spend between two and three weeks in Ukraine after a baby is born via surrogacy.

“During the pandemic, we know of couples that went there when there were no flights. Some couples got home within 10 days as certain elements can be fast tracked,” she said.

“It’s going to be hugely stressful, it’s that unknown. If I was a parent going through it now I would be reassured that our embassy and the DFA are doing everything within their powers to ensure the children are protected.”

Tensions have been rising in Ukraine after Russia deployed 130,000 troops at its border, alongside tanks and fighter jets.

Some security analysts have indicated there may be a full-on invasion in the coming weeks.

Russia has put forward a list of security demands including a guarantee that Ukraine will never be allowed to join Nato and that alliance forces pull back in Eastern European countries that joined after 1997.

Ms Seery-Kearney, who had her own child through surrogacy, says reports on the situation must be unsettling for Irish couples, but she believes they will get the support necessary from the DFA.

“What people don’t really realise is how much support the DFA always gives to families bringing a family home via surrogacy. At the beginning of Covid, they went to extraordinary lengths. They have specialist officials who have lots of experience in Ukraine.

“Minister Simon Coveney has asked that families contact the department to advise them of when they are expecting their babies so that preparations can be made for any eventuality. Any families looking to make contact with the department or searching for help can get in touch with me.

“There are two clinics supporting surrogacy – one in Kiev, the capital and another in Lviv, a city closer to the Polish border. I have been advised that clinics are making contingency plans to support surrogates to move to Lviv in the event of matters in Ukraine deteriorating on the Eastern side of the county so as to ensure their safety and comfort as they give birth and recover from birth,” she added.



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