“Surrogacy Ukraine Gave Us Hope, and the Family We’ve Always Wanted”

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Intended parents aren’t the only ones that feel joy, hope, and a love for family. 

Oftentimes, when considering surrogacy, the stories that get told seem to fall into two categories- either those sharing an inspiring story of parents who were finally able to make their dreams come true thanks largely to the qualitative efforts of an incredible community, or those that speak of the dark side of carrying that child. 

Rarely do we find the joy and elation that can be heard from both sides, that of the intended parent and the surrogate. This isn’t because these stories don’t exist, but rather they don’t make a compelling byline, something that speaks to our growing need for sensationalism. However, these stories do exist, and we didn’t have to dig very deep to find them. 

Ilaya, a clinic specializing in surrogacy Ukraine, weighed in on why this might be the case. “Oftentimes, surrogacy programs and journeys are incredibly personal, and highly emotional- for both intended parents and surrogates. While it doesn’t mean they’re disinterested in telling their stories, it’s often something that is too intimate to share with third parties.” There are also fears of stories being taken out of context, or surrogates being opened to rebuff, as the practice remains a contentious one. But, with a little helpful direction, and a lot of feel-good chats over coffee, we found several women who were happy to share their experiences. 

Judy, 43, United States 

“My husband and I had been trying to conceive for about four years. I had to go through chemotherapy in my mid-thirties and had frozen several eggs prior. Unfortunately, our IVF cycles didn’t take. We were left with no other options and essentially told that we would be unable to get a surrogate that we could afford. I was devastated, but my husband was determined.

“He found a Ukraine surrogacy program and ended up corresponding with them regularly. I was still struggling with the loss and let down of all the other procedures, so I took little interest, assuming we wouldn’t apply. About a year later, I found myself on a plane, heading to Europe. Which i had never been before. So many firsts on that trip! We arrived at the clinic and it felt strikingly similar to [our hometown]. Everyone was so kind, they all spoke English, our entire team was quick to answer any questions and even helped to arrange travel and accommodations. I was still nervous about it all, but it was surprisingly comforting. 

“I remember being really worried about meeting our surrogate. We had heard some really terrible things about how women were treated here. But I don’t know what was different for us. Maybe it was the agency, or maybe we just get some pretty biased news in the U.S., but our surrogate was radiant. She was happy and sweet. Kind and patient. She was everything that I hadn’t dared hope for. 

“The following process was long, and it had a bump or two- but we did eventually get to take our son home. Healthy, perfect. He’s our whole world. I can’t put into words how much that woman means to me. What she gave us… she gave me hope. Which is something I had lost.”

Galyna, 26, Ukraine

“I have two children. They’re incredible, they both have such fun and wonderful personalities. I was pregnant with my first child when I was 21, and for me- it was just the most incredible experience. I love it. I love getting to know them by eating certain foods and seeing how they will react– a kick for sweets, a bump for spicy foods. The changes your body undergoes while carrying a child have always been really nice for me. I love that feeling of having them with me all the time. 

“My husband definitely didn’t want another child, and I wasn’t sure I wanted one either- but I love being pregnant! It might sound a bit wild, but there’s something just supremely enjoyable about the whole situation for me. We talked about it and he suggested that I consider working for the surrogacy agency. It was such a huge moment in my life. I would read the profiles of the candidates, and they were heartbreaking. Something that was so wonderful and enjoyable to be, being completely denied to another- there’s just something really terrible about that thought. 

“I believe everyone should have a family if that is what they want. There’s nothing like it. Not just the pregnancy, but having children of your own. Mine are the reason I wake up in the morning. I love getting to watch them explore their worlds, I look forward to cooking them meals and tying their shoes. I can’t think of people not being able to have that- to be denied that joy. Needless to say, I found a family that was a perfect fit for me really quickly and I was thrilled to get started. 

“I had another really wonderful pregnancy. No big complications, barely any morning sickness or swelling. I think what really made this one special was getting to share it with the parents. They were so happy! So interested and attentive. It was wonderful to get to share all of the pictures, and updates and stories with them. Each and every moment of my pregnancy was just as exciting for them as it was for me. I loved the way they would celebrate every step. They were always quick to ask me about doctors appointments, or even excited to hear how my day went. We would email a few times a week, or more often if there was something important happening. 

“For me, it wasn’t handing them their baby that was the hard part. In fact, that was really easy. It was incredible to see their faces when they held her for the first time. So much happiness, relief, and that kind ecstatic joy that you just can’t explain. I just knew they would be wonderful parents. They were so grateful for what I had done. It was so overwhelming, seeing their genuine happiness, and having them thank me over and over. I understood where it was coming from, but wow- super emotional time for all of us, I think. Really, the hardest part of all of it was what came after, just not having that same closeness and comradery with them. We still talk, and that’s spectacular! I’m “aunty” and I love that, but it’s different. And it should be. I have my family and they now have theirs. Which is what makes it all so perfect. I’m so happy for the choice I made in becoming a surrogate, but losing that closeness was tough.”

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