International surrogacy has grown rapidly in Ukraine in recent years, driven by the availability of high-quality programmes and clear laws, in close proximity to Western Europe, and accelerated by the closure of several popular destinations for intended parents.
That fast growth has led to the emergence of a wide range of options for intended parents, often leaving them confused about what the best practices are. Still, the experience of thousands of couples in recent years has made it possible to identify a few guidelines for selecting a Ukrainian surrogacy programme.
First, it’s best to avoid cash payments. Reputable providers will provide formal payment options such as international bank transfers, which provide solid records of transactions, overseen by third parties, in the case of later disputes. Some clinics even offer payment arrangements in a couple’s home country, avoiding the inconvenience (and occasionally the added paperwork) of international transfers.
Carrying cash across international borders presents its own set of problems. First of all, any traveller bringing more than EUR 10,000 in cash into Ukraine must file a declaration form – including presenting evidence that the money was withdrawn from a bank. For the U.S., the limit is $10,000, and applies to any group of travellers, not just individuals.
More fundamentally, carrying that amount of cash around anywhere in the world (including in your home country, from your bank to the flight) is never a good idea; if nothing else, it will add stress at a time that’s already stressful enough. Of course, as with everything in life, we have to balance risk against reward.
So, ask yourself:
“What benefit do I get from taking on the risk of carrying so much cash?”
Second, appropriate surrogacy fees should be another thing to look for; if they seem unreasonably low, there’s probably a reason for that. Many clinics offer lower fees by providing arrangements with older surrogates that reputable clinics would refuse, or with surrogates who live in areas that aren’t considered safe, or by skimping on care for the surrogate during the pregnancy.
Another thing to look for is clear pricing. The minimum cost of the surrogate fee, travel and accommodation for the surrogate, vitamins and medication, legal expenses and pregnancy supervision is rarely less than EUR 22,000. But note that this doesn’t include the fees for in vitro fertilisation, particularly if multiple cycles are needed, or any other medical procedures.
Some IVF clinics in Western Europe engage in similar practices, offering low-cost IVF cycles but with prices that exclude the cost of medication. Such clinics may also refuse to release embryos, forcing couples to keep using them for all future cycles. An initial offer of EUR 3,000 can quickly grow to EUR 9,000 or more. No two cases are identical, so it’s not possible to give an “off-the shelf” price for surrogacy. But make sure the clinic spells out in writing what is included in their fee, and what potential additional charges you may face.
Clinics vs Agencies
Finally, dealing directly with clinics rather than agencies can also help reduce risk. An agency can be set up in a matter of days – and closed down just as quickly. Clinics, on the other hand, take years to establish and must remain in compliance with regulatory standards. Working directly with a clinic, rather than an agency, gives an additional level of security.
Since our clinic was established in 2011, ilaya has been at the forefront of establishing best practices for surrogacy in Ukraine. Our years of experience, transparent pricing and the offer of a direct relationship with the clinic, overseen by a personal manager, make us one of the most reliable providers of surrogacy in Ukraine.