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Stranded Babies, Hurting Moms: COVID-19 Crisis Highlights Problems With Surrogacy

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc in many industries — including the buying and selling of babies through commercial surrogacy. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, babies are stranded in different countries than their genetic parents while surrogates and agencies are scrambling to care for them.

And according to human-rights advocates and religious leaders who oppose surrogacy, these pandemic-related problems have brought to light just some of the flaws that necessarily occur in a deeply unethical industry.

In Ukraine, 46 babies from the U.S., Italy, Spain and elsewhere born through surrogacy are stranded in a Kyiv (formerly known as Kiev) hotel-turned-hospital, as the country has closed its borders because of the pandemic. A heartbreaking video from the surrogacy company BioTexCom shows the babies in cribs, attended by babysitters and nurses. The situation has caused Ukrainian officials to call for banning the practice.

Ukraine’s human-rights ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova called for a ban on foreign surrogacy, writing that “providing such services to foreign citizens can lead primarily to violation of children’s rights and to a situation in which Ukraine is incapable of protecting its citizens. … Children in Ukraine should not be human-trafficking objects.”

Ukrainian Greek Catholic and Latin bishops called for a complete ban on surrogacy in a statement. They said of BioTexCom’s video that it “shows an improvised children’s room and 46 crying babies, deprived of maternal touch, parental warmth, selfless care, much-needed love, but are seen as a purchased product for which the buyer did not come. Such a demonstration of contempt for the human person and his dignity is unacceptable.”

The U.S. coronavirus travel restrictions have also left babies born domestically through surrogates stranded. Sierra Martin, a 22-year-old Washington state resident and surrogate mom who gave birth to the child of a same-sex couple from China, told The Guardian about caring for the little boy alongside her own two children in these unusual circumstances. “I love having the baby snuggles,” Martin said, “but it’s definitely hard knowing that he is not mine. I love him, but I know that he has to go back to his own parents eventually.”

Read more at National Catholic Register

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