As if all the strains that the quarantine imposed on humanity were not enough, a group of parents around the world had to face an extra drama: that of not being able to accompany the childbirth and, after being born, not being able to take it home. Babies born on surrogate mothers – the process in which a woman is hired to give the uterus to the parents of embryos through artificial insemination – came to the world in Ukraine, Georgia, the United States and other countries where the practice is permitted in full dissemination of the pandemic, when borders closed and planes stopped flying. On the one hand, nurseries and even hotels have had to accommodate an unusual number of newborns. On the other hand, anguished parents were looking for ways to cross the world to pick up their offspring. “The last few months have been an endless wait,” says lawyer Renata Mofsovich, from São Paulo, a proud mother of twins born in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
Renata and her husband, engineer Leandro Mofsovich, underwent seven years of frustrated treatments before opting for surrogacy in Ukraine, currently the most requested country for the procedure. “A doctor said that my chance of being a mother was equal to reaching the top of Everest. That destroyed me, it was a punch in the stomach, ”says Renata. At the end of 2019, the implantation of embryos in the uterus of a Ukrainian woman worked and the wait and preparations for the arrival of the twins began. Tickets purchased for June 20, well before delivery, scheduled for July 5, came to quarantine and anxiety. It took Renata and her husband 22 hours to reach Kiev and went into compulsory isolation for fourteen days. “We had to download an application, all in Ukrainian, that monitored our steps. One day I went up to the roof of the building to take a picture and the device kept beeping ”, says Renata. Little Esther and Joana were born three days in advance, still in quarantine. In order to leave, the couple underwent a battery of tests. Renata’s gave a change and only her father could see the delivery. “I was crying alone in the apartment, inconsolable, for two days. Anyway, I was able to hug them at the hospital door and it was an indescribable emotion ”, says Renata.
IMPROVISO – Newborns housed in a Ukrainian hotel: the wait is over – Andreas Stein / Getty Images
Lending the uterus to gestate babies to strangers in exchange for financial compensation is prohibited in most countries, for moral reasons and reports of exploitation of women. In Brazil, the loan can only be free and by relatives or close friends of the couple. Since Indian women were banned from giving the womb to foreigners in 2019, Eastern Europe has become a mecca for surrogacy. There the cost of the procedure is in the range of 40,000 euros (240,000 reais), three times less than in the United States. The Mofsovich couple say that they spent 1 million reais since the beginning of the treatment.
In early May, the BioTexCom clinic in Kiev released a video in which dozens of babies appeared in a hotel – up to 100 newborns were reported in this situation. The objective was to show that the little ones were well taken care of and, mainly, to call the attention of the authorities so that they facilitated the access of the parents. “Having a child was the greatest achievement of our lives, but what followed was a nightmare,” says Spaniard Sergio Aznar, who entered Ukraine with his wife, Maria Luz Marin, still in March, days before the borders were closed. , and only managed to return home, in Murcia, two months later. Americans Darlene and Chris Straub went through an epic: they flew to Holland, Sweden and, finally, Minsk, the capital of Belarus. There they rented a car and traveled 530 kilometers to the Ukrainian border, which they crossed on foot, with suitcases and baby strollers, before driving further to Kiev.
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The Brazilian embassy in Ukraine informed VEJA that the government now dispenses with quarantine for people who, when they arrive, test negative for the new coronavirus. The pandemic is controlled in the country, with more than 60,000 cases and 1,500 deaths. BioTexCom has ensured that all of its babies have already been delivered to their parents, but flights are still reduced and the pandemic is delaying bureaucratic processes horribly. Renata and her family will still spend a few weeks in Kiev – two months in all. “That doctor was right: being a mother was, in fact, like reaching the top of Everest,” says Renata, relieved and happy. Anyone who has gone through the experience knows: this is only the beginning.
Published in VEJA of August 5, 2020, edition nº 2698