Coronavirus: Dozens of babies stranded without parents due to border closures | World News

Dozens of babies are stranded in Ukraine because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The babies were born to surrogate mothers in Ukraine and are due to be collected by parents from the US, UK, Europe and elsewhere.

But Ukraine, like many countries around the world, has closed its borders to foreigners in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 300,000 people globally.

A nurse and newborns are seen in the Hotel Venice owned by BioTexCom clinic in Kiev, Ukraine May 14, 2020
The babies are shown to their parents only through pictures and video calls

Ukraine’s borders have been closed to foreigners since March, leaving most of the parents to make do with seeing their babies in pictures and during video calls.

The 51 babies lying in rows of cots in a small hotel on the outskirts of Kiev are likely to be waiting for a long time yet, as Ukraine’s government said it can only allow parents into the country if a request is received from the relevant embassy.

For others, leaving the country is the problem.

Rafa Aires, from Spain, got in before the lockdown to collect his daughter Marta but now he cannot leave, as almost all flights have been suspended and he needs to finish paperwork.

His wife, Maria, was unable to travel with him due to work commitments and he said: “Every day I make video calls with my wife for one hour or an hour and a half for her to see the baby.

“It is very difficult.

“Nurses and medical personnel in this hotel are wonderful. They make my life easier.”

The hotel belongs to the clinic BioTexCom, which has been trying to get the Ukrainian government to take action but the action suggested was not what they wanted.

Lyudmyla Denisova, the human rights ombudsman for Ukraine’s parliament, said the images showed the country had a “massive and systemic” surrogacy industry where babies were advertised as a “high quality product”.

She suggested the law could be changed to reserve the services for Ukrainian parents.

BioTexCom’s founder Albert Tochilovsky said: “We were prepared for this negative reaction.”

Surrogacy is legal in Ukraine and a surrogate mother can receive up to £14,000.

The parents of only 16 babies have been able to travel to Ukraine so far.

Denis Herman, BioTexCom’s lawyer, said: “The children are all provided with food, a sufficient number of employees look after them, but there is no substitute for parental care.

“We try to send photos of children to the parents, we try to make conference calls, but this cannot replace communication in direct contact.”

Sky News

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