17:29 19.05.2020

Assisted reproductive medicine in Ukraine needs legislative regulation – expert

4 min read

KYIV. May 19 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Assisted reproductive medicine in Ukraine, in particular surrogacy, need legislative regulation, lawyer, specialist in the field of reproductive law Olena Babych has said.

She said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine that the by-laws regulating this sphere are no longer sufficient and there is a need for a separate law. "We cannot say that surrogacy is not regulated in Ukraine. The Family Code has an article that allows and regulates the possibility of using surrogate motherhood in Ukraine. There is Health Ministry order No. 787 that regulates the use of assisted reproductive technologies and surrogacy. The problem is that most of the issues need to be regulated at the level of the law, and not in a by-law. It is necessary to regulate and implement administrative and criminal liability for violations in this sphere," she said.

The lawyer said that from the point of view of Ukrainian legislation, surrogate motherhood is a method of treating infertility, which is possible if there are a number of conditions: a married couple who have indications for this method in a registered marriage; direct medical indications for women; a genetic relationship between a born child and both parents, or one of them. "Based on this, surrogacy cannot be called human trafficking," Babych said.

According to her, the issue of licensing intermediaries in surrogate motherhood has become long overdue. "It is necessary to establish requirements that these are registered legal entities, that they adhere to the requirements and current legislation, which will make it impossible for all unscrupulous intermediaries," the lawyer said.

Vice-President of the Ukrainian Association of Reproductive Medicine Valeriy Zukin, in turn, said that the corresponding bill has already been developed and submitted to the profile committee of the Verkhovna Rada.

"Our association, together with lawyers, drafted a bill in accordance with the best international standards, which passed the expert commission of the parliament," he said.

President of the Ukrainian Association of Reproductive Medicine, Professor Oleksandr Yuzko, added that this is not the first attempt by the association to pass such a legislative initiative. "It should be legislation not only on surrogacy, this law concerns assisted reproductive technologies and starts its history in 2012, when, thanks to our efforts, the Verkhovna Rada adopted bill No. 8282. But it was vetoed by Yanukovych," he said.

Yuzko said that the bill developed by the Ukrainian Association of Reproductive Medicine proposes, in particular, to establish that the period of stay of genetic parents in marriage should be at least one year, which will allow us to filter out fictitious marriages. In addition, all the terms of the surrogacy program should be outlined in the contract.

Commenting on the situation with children born under the surrogacy program, whom genetic parents cannot take from Ukraine due to the pandemic, Babych noted the state's inactivity in this matter.

"There were no decisions for this force majeure. The legal status of these children, their stay in Ukraine is not resolved by the state, as the term of stay in the hospital is no more than 28 days, and then the fate of these children is forgotten. None of the public agencies settled this issue," the lawyer said.

For her part, Chief Physician of the Rodynne Dzherelo IVMed medical center (Kyiv) Halyna Strelko added that reproductive medicine clinics, together with the Ukrainian Association of Reproductive Medicine, appealed to a number of public authorities with a request to provide parents of such children with the opportunity to cross the border.

"When the country imposed lockdown in March, the association made recommendations to the clinics. Then we turned to a number of public institutions, but only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the requests and prescribed algorithms how to do this through embassies and consulates. Some countries took advantage of the procedure and were able to take the children," she said.