How planned Irish legislation has exposed the ethical dilemma at the heart of the Ukrainian surrogate baby route taken by Irish couples

Since 2016, almost all Irish surrogate pregnancies have taken place in Ukraine, leading many to question the legal and ethical implications of doing so in an impoverished and poorly regulated country

A nurse cares for newborn babies at Kiev's Venice hotel on May 15, 2020. Over 100 babies born to surrogate mothers were stranded when their foreign parents were unable to collect them. Picture: Sergei Supinsky/Getty

In May 2020, images began to emerge of 46 babies stranded together in a single ward in Ukraine.

They had been newly born through the country’s booming commercial surrogacy industry. Their intending parents from around the world were unable to collect them due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, leaving a team of nurses to care for the infants until emergency access could be arranged.

Furious at the situation, Mykola Kuleba, Ukraine’s then Ombudsman for Children, did ...