By Priyanka Vora


Published Last updated 

As Russian forces continue their attack on Kyiv, Ukrainians have been forced to take cover; people young and old are streaming into underground bomb shelters. Among them are surrogate mothers, part of the country’s booming fertility industry.

Ukraine is the second most popular destination after the United States for foreign couples seeking surrogacy services, according to Growing Families, a nonprofit organization working with couples seeking surrogacy and fertility treatment in Ukraine and around the world. An estimated 2,000 to 2,500 children are born through surrogacy in Ukraine each year, and at least 1,500 couples living in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, and elsewhere have surrogate mothers and embryos stored at clinics in Ukraine, says Sam Everingham, global director of Growing Families.

Fertility clinics are now fielding a barrage of calls from would-be parents outside Ukraine, who are desperate for updates on their surrogate mothers. Anticipating an attack, some facilities have already taken steps to ensure safety of their surrogates, transporting them toward the western regions of the country. BioTexCom, a fertility facility in Kyiv, even built a bomb shelter to protect its surrogates and infants. The shelter is equipped with gas masks, sleeping bags, canned food, and cribs. It can accommodate 200 people, BioTexCom legal advisor Denis Herman said in a YouTube video this week.

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