Authorities have allowed foreign parents, including a group of Argentines, into Ukraine to collect their babies, who were born to surrogate mothers and left stranded in the eastern European country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ukraine's human rights ombudswoman, Lyudmila Denisova, said last week that 31 couples had arrived and been united with their children.
“It is a special day. All government bodies have reacted quickly and helped....I have already met parents from Spain, whose daughter was born five weeks ago,” Denisova said on her Facebook page.
Andrea Díez of Argentina, who got to see her child for the first time, echoed Denisova's sentiment. “It’s a very good ending to the story, unbelievable,” she said.
For Díez and her husband, Fernando Montero, the past two months are the end of a nine-year struggle to be parents. They began trying for children in 2011 and have since gone through two fertility treatments, six unsuccessful pregnancies, and attempts at adoption.
Their son, Ignacio, was born on April 29 in Kiev and kept in a nursery with the other 125 babies who were born through BioTexCom, Ukraine’s largest surrogate operation.
According to Diez, BioTexCom organised a ceremony at the Hotel Venecia where she and Montero met their baby and the nurses who had been caring for him since his birth.
The couple were not the only Argentines to have this experience. A business executive, Ricardo Fernández Núñez chartered a flight for the Díez-Montero and the other eight Argentine couples who had babies waiting in Ukraine.
Once the couples arrived in Kiev, they had to obey Ukrainian regulations and enter quarantine for 10 days. Only after they tested negative for Covid-19 were they able to finally meet their babies.
“I looked in his eyes, and it was an instant connection, a love I had never felt before. I put him on my chest and cried. I don’t know if this happens to all mothers, but in that moment it was much more intense than anything I could have ever imagined,” said Díez, remembering her first meeting with Ignacio.
“We aren’t thinking about our nine-year struggle to be parents or the problems of the pandemic, but about our plans for the future. It’s magic,” said the new mother.
Denisova said 88 more families have received entry permits and will arrive in Ukraine in the coming weeks.
The infants were stranded in Ukraine after the country closed its borders to prevent virus infections. The newborns attracted wide attention after Biotexcom posted a video showing dozens of babies in bassinets arrayed in tight rows in two large rooms of Hotel Venecia.
The company sought to reassure parents in 13 countries – China, the United States, Argentina, Italy, Spain, Britain, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Mexico and Portugal – that their children were receiving good care, showing nurses bathing and caressing them.