In March 2011 two French citizens driving a minivan have been detained at Ukrainian boarder while attempting to take two-month-old twin-girls out of Ukraine. The babies were hidden in a chest under a car mattress. As it turned out, the girls named Kim and Viki were born in January 2011 as a result of surrogacy program underwent by a French couple Patrice and Orellie Lieuroc in one of Kiev reproductive clinics.
The couple was embarrassed to confess that they had to resort to this desperate step, since they could not register their children as French citizens. Any surrogacy agreements are illegal in France and are not sanctioned by the law. However, assurances of a local surrogacy agency, provided at the very beginning of the program, that the babies will be in France without any trouble were very promising and Patrice and Orellie realized a huge problem of bringing babies home only upon their birth and applying to the Embassy of France in Ukraine.
In course of criminal proceedings Patrice and Orellie were found guilty in illegal transportation of minors abroad and sentenced to a fine of 29,000 UAH with confiscation of their vehicle. Furthermore, a couple had to endure a long legal battle to take the girls to France. Due to straightforward prohibition of surrogacy in France it was impossible to succeed in obtaining French passport for new-born babies and the couple turned to ?bypass? legal way that took considerable time and efforts: Orellie applied for registered residence permit in Ukraine in order to enable the babies to acquire Ukrainian citizenship. Fortunately, one of European Union countries granted visas for the children in summer this year. All is well that ends well, and today the family Lieuroc lives together with their children in France.
Surrogacy turned out to be a bitter for a Belgian gay couple Lorrain Ghilain and Peter Meurrens too. In 2008 they entered into surrogacy agreement with Ukrainian woman (who was inseminated with Lorrain?s sperm), which resulted in birth of a boy Samuel.
Lorrain first saw his son in Kharkiv right after his birth, but thereafter a couple could not take the boy out of Ukraine, since the Embassy of Belgium in Ukraine denied issuing passport for him. The matter is that the Belgian law is silent on surrogacy motherhood and there is no specific legal bar to gay or any other couple using services of a surrogate mother overseas to bring their child home.
For lack of passport, Samuel spent the first 16 months of his life with a foster family in Ukraine. Lorrain and Peter even tried to smuggle the boy through Ukrainian border, but their attempt failed. Then the boy spent almost all of the last year in Lviv orphanage where he was taken after this incident. All this time the couple has been battling with courts and legislators to take their child to Belgium.
Only in February 2011 the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, following the decision of Belgian High Court, issued the passport necessary for the child to travel.
In order to avoid complications of citizenship and bureaucratic hurdles to bring a newborn child home, the Ukrainian Association of Reproductive Medicine recommends that all foreign couples should consult diplomatic representations of their countries and take professional legal advice prior to start a surrogacy program overseas.