When a couple embarks on a surrogacy journey as a means for building their family, they are not always made aware of all the legal implications involved.
Ukraine has a strict legal framework surrounding surrogacy for heterosexual married couples with a valid medical reason and one of the documents which is testament to this is the contract parents will sign with their gestational carrier
This contract, known as the “Child Carrying Contract” is typically signed by a lawyer or representative on behalf of the couple via a Power Of Attorney and must be certified and signed before a Ukrainian notary.
The signature of this contract must take place before the day of transfer of your embryo.
But before this happens, it’s important to understand the implications of signing this agreement.
The Child Carrying Contract is an agreement between the intended parents and the surrogate mother which outlines the obligations and responsibilities of both parties but which will in all likelihood be provided and drafted by the agency or clinic – whoever is considered the service provider.
Given its relevance and content in the programme, Intended parents should make sure that they read and understand all the terms before starting a programme and review once more before the final version is signed between the legal representative and your surrogate mother.
It is essential to verify your personal information because this document will be requested after the birth of your child by the Ukrainian authorities and by your embassy.
Most importantly of all, this contract is strictly between the couple and the surrogate mother only and whilst Parents will have signed an additional agreement with their service provider, the surrogate will only sign a contract with Intended Parents meaning the service provider has no liability at all to her.
So when communication is not allowed or limited between you and your surrogate mother, this can cause serious problems, especially for her.
We have seen cases of service providers who were meant to pay the surrogate on the parents behalf, miss surrogate mothers’ payment schedules and put them in unacceptable financial situations. In these cases, the surrogate is often led to believe that parents have not made these payments and this adds to the uncertainty and anxiety she is already feeling.
We have also seen cases in which, despite the contracts signed with couples, the agency has abandoned them in the middle of the program, pregnant and with no or limited ways of contacting the person carrying their baby.
The Child Carrying Contract, which is supposed to protect both parents and surrogates cannot fulfill its purpose if the service provider does not allow you to be in regular communication with your surrogate mother.
The arguments put forward by the service providers for forbidding or limiting this communication are always the same: they tell you it’s to protect you in case your surrogate wants to get more than what has been agreed.
In reality this hardly ever happens and if she was paid on time and treated how she deserves to be treated this would never happen, but low cost programs offering multiple IVF or ‘guaranteed offers’ rarely put their main focus on the wellbeing of surrogates.
Many gestational carriers are recruited through campaigns on social media platforms, paid the minimum going rate, housed with other surrogates with shared facilities and thus separated from their families during the last weeks of pregnancy so it is therefore much more convenient for the service provider that contact between her and parents is kept at a minimum.
At NestAndCo, we give surrogates the care and support they deserve because they are the most important people in your program.
We work with a referral based system, meaning surrogates who have worked with our team before recommend our services to other ladies considering surrogacy programmes.
Our colleague Anya, who coordinates surrogate journeys, meets them several times during their initial medical appointments with health professionals before offering us their profile. When this step is complete, we ask parents and surrogates to prepare a short presentation about themselves and we share this information with the other party in hope they will be a good match for one another.
We set up communication and direct remuneration between the couple and their surrogate mother so that on both sides, the level of involvement and transparency is as high as possible.
And lastly but not less importantly, we offer them a higher remuneration than many other service providers and we favour geographical proximity to Kiev wherever possible so as not to put them at unnecessary risk during pregnancy.And we do all this because we believe that the key to a successful surrogacy program is essentially the well-being of your surrogate mother.