ParentingPregnancy and Birth

The Ethics of Using a Surrogacy Clinic

For some, seeking out a surrogacy clinic is the only way to realize the dream of having a family. But what if that dream turns out to be a nightmare?

Tim and Maria had dreamed of having a child since they were married in 2010. They met at a local restaurant that Maria worked at. After dating for three years, they had a storybook wedding in their home town in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Shortly after their wedding, they knew they wanted a family.

Tim and Maria

“We tried everything. I felt like there was nothing anyone could do. It was horrible. The day my doctor told us we needed a surrogacy clinic, I was embarrassed, ashamed, and terrified,”

Maria says that she had read many articles that depicted a surrogacy clinic to be a pit for exploitation of poor women. She also confides that she was afraid that her and her husband would never be able to afford treatments. Worried about the treatment of women and her available finances, she felt stuck. Tim then jumped to her rescue. After doing a massive amount of research he found Ilaya. A surrogacy clinic that had experience in providing couples with reasonably priced surrogates in Ukraine.

“I didn’t know anything about Ukraine, but it was all we could afford.” Maria says. “I was so skeptical; I guess I kept assuming that it would be a very sad place with very sad people. I didn’t want our child to be carried by a woman who had no other choice. Tim assured me that if we talked to them [Ilaya], and didn’t feel like it was right, we’d come home and find another way”

“After meeting with the clinic, I had fewer reservations. They were so kind and attentive. We choose from a list of three surrogate mothers, and then travelled to their surrogacy clinic in Ukraine. It was nothing like I thought it would be. The surrogacy clinic was gorgeous. Our surrogate was smiling and healthy. The doctors and the staff were just as kind to her as they were to me. After that, my fears just melted away.”

Maria and Tim went through two rounds of IVF before their surrogate got pregnant. Two years later, they are proud and happy parents of a healthy little girl, Analise. “Those women do it because they like helping people. Just like nurses or doctors or teachers over here. It’s really beautiful and I wouldn’t change anything. Everything just went so smoothly. We’re so happy to have Analise, I can’t imagine our lives without her. We owe our happiness to our surrogacy clinic.”

Ryan and Anthony

Ryan and Anthony had been dating since University in Oxfordshire, England. They had been together for almost ten years before the U.K. legalized same sex marriages in 2014. “It was a triumph. We knew we wanted to get married, but had to wait ten years for it. Can you imagine that? Waiting ten years to be able to marry the person you love? We had discussed starting a family before we were married, but finding a legal surrogate without a marriage license is almost impossible.”

“We considered going about it with gestational surrogacy, or looking online for a surrogate mother – without using a surrogacy clinic. What we found was horrific. These women looked abused and poorly fed. That’s not the kind of woman we wanted for our son.”

“I just couldn’t do it” Ryan recalls the anguish they went through. “Not being able to get married, and not being able to start a family- at what point can you start your life?” Ryan lovingly remembers that he couldn’t have done it without Anthony’s support. “I just wanted to quit. Give up on that dream. Which was really hard for me.” After extensive research and what felt like ages, Ryan and Anthony finally found a surrogacy clinic willing to work with them as a married couple. “After what I had seen on the internet, I was afraid of the surrogates our surrogacy clinic was going to suggest. We both struggled with the ethical aspects.”

Ryan says that once they found a surrogacy clinic abroad, they did have some trouble getting their son home. “The surrogacy clinic did nothing wrong, but government will be government.” Ryan prefers not to name their surrogacy clinic, but does assure us they did an amazing job. “They were incredible. Very attentive to us, very attentive to our surrogate. She was a joy to meet and we still keep in touch. I send her pictures of [their son] and she will send us pictures of her children. We call them ‘womb-brothers’. It’s wonderful to know that there are people in this world that are that pure and that giving.”

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