Kiev: Couples who are unable to have children on their own are now flocking to Ukraine, a country where the commercial surrogacy industry has boomed so much so, that they are now referred to as ‘baby factories’. Notably, Ukraine is one of the few places in the world where commercial surrogacy is allowed and because of that, surrogacy birth industry has literally exploded.Also Read - Woman's Claim of Having 10 Babies Found Fake, Admitted to Psychiatric Ward For Inventing Story

According to experts, around 2,500 and 3,000 children are born every year through surrogacy in Ukraine for foreign parents and about a third of the customers are Chinese, AFP reported. Ukraine especially boomed as a key player in this segment especially after India and Thailand outlawed commercial surrogacy for foreigners. Some estimates suggest that the global commercial surrogacy market is now worth five billion euros.

Price to pay for a baby

According to the deal, intended parents are generally required to be married heterosexual couples and to have proof of their infertility diagnosis. The average price of a surrogate pregnancy in Ukraine is said to be between 25,000 (Rs 22 lakh) and 70,000 euros (Rs 61 lakh). Kyiv-based surrogacy clinic BioTexCom, which is said to have facilitated close to half of the surrogate pregnancies in the country, charges around 39,900 euros for the procedure.

For “two attempts at baby sex selection” the price rises to 49,900 euros, while for “unlimited attempts” the cost is 64,900 euros, according to a price list on BioTexCom’s official website, as reported by Emerging Europe.Com.

Murky reality of the Baby industry:

Though this industry has given hope to thousands of struggling would-be parents, behind their dream-come-true is a murky business that thrives on taking advantage of desperate young women. The industry is poorly regulated and rife with abuse and corruption, with many now dubbing it as ‘an international online baby store.’ Many surrogate mothers complained of not getting their promised payments, while others said that they were made to live in terrible conditions during the later stages of their pregnancies.

A British couple, Bianca and Vinny Smith, who recently visited Ukraine to take home their surrogate babies, told Daily Mail that they heard about the biggest surrogacy company in the Ukraine on a Facebook group. ‘They were offering a take-home baby guarantee. You pay around £40,000 and you keep going until you get a baby. They’ll swap out egg donors or surrogates until they get it right. And we thought, well, perfect.’

However, upon their visit, they were taken aback to see the country’s shocking surrogate baby trade. They found women kept on a sweltering maternity ward with no air conditioning ‘like cattle’, in extremely unhygienic and filthy conditions. Several studies have suggested that surrogacy can lead to long-term physical and mental impact on surrogate mothers in particular.