Irish parents of 14 babies due to be born to surrogate mothers in Ukraine may face costs of €88 a day for ‘nanny’ care in the threatened country, if they cannot travel to the infants.
about 14 babies are expected to be born to surrogate mothers by May in Ukraine, which is threatened with invasion by Russian military forces.
A small number of relatives are believed to be in Ukraine, although most are still in Ireland.
Fine Gael Senator Mary Seery Kearney liaised with the parents.
Ms Seery Kearney, whose daughter was born via surrogacy, said she hoped the Irish state would help parents with any costs they might face if infants had to be cared for by surrogacy clinics surrogacy after birth.
The Indo Daily: Explainer – why is there tension between Ukraine and Russia, and what does it mean for Ireland?
“The services offer a nanny arrangement but this comes at a considerable cost which was not anticipated,” she said.
“I ask the Irish Government to consider contributing to the costs. It is important that there is kindness, compassion and support around the parents.
“Parents have already traveled a long and arduous journey to get to a place where they are going to have a baby through surrogacy.
“There are couples in Ukraine (expecting babies) but I’m not ready to say more.
“Some (of the 14 parents) are cancer survivors, others have suffered serious illnesses, serial infertility and miscarriages.
“To finally be pregnant through surrogacy is a great moment, but now that babies are born in Ukraine at such a time, it is very distressing for the parents.
“There are couples in Ukraine who are expecting the birth of babies. If we can imagine a parent being asked to stay in a different country from their vulnerable newborn, it’s just devastating to contemplate.
“A support corps is put around them by the Foreign Office (FDFA), which has been extraordinary.”
About 50 Irish citizens have registered with the Irish Embassy in Kyiv.
A number of Irish said they intended to travel to Ukraine for medical treatment.
The DFA yesterday updated its travel advice asking Irish citizens to leave Ukraine immediately.
Irish citizens have also been instructed not to travel to Ukraine, but the 14 Irish parents are said to be considering their options.
RTÉ reported that a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Kyiv departed with the majority of its 131 passengers today.
Ms Seery Kearney continues to liaise with families and advises them to communicate with clinics and agencies, to enable arrangements for infants to be made where parents cannot travel.
Foreign Minister Simon Coveney spoke to the Irish Ambassador in Kyiv on Saturday evening.
Mr Coveney tweeted: “I spoke to our Ambassador in Kyiv last night. She leads a small but effective team and stays there doing important work supporting Irish citizens.
“The advice to Irish citizens is to leave Ukraine. We continue to work with EU partners and will keep people informed.”
The United States has warned that a Russian invasion could begin within days.
The US State Department has ordered non-emergency embassy staff in Kyiv to leave amid rising tensions.
The Irish Embassy remains open in Ukraine but only a small number of staff remain.
Higher and Further Education Minister Simon Harris told RTÉ Radio 1: “Let’s be very clear, the Irish position, the European position, I think the position of so many countries around the world, is that the war is not inevitable.
“It is never inevitable until it happens and diplomacy must continue to be pursued. But every government also has a duty of care to its citizens. And it would be totally irresponsible for the Irish government not to not pass on this best advice and this best thinking to our own citizens.
“There are around 50 Irish citizens registered with our embassy in Kyiv. The Irish are in Ukraine for various reasons. Some work with international organizations, some have family ties, some are there for business and some are also there for medical reasons.
“Different people will obviously have different circumstances, but the advice from the government is clear, and it is the advice that you should not travel to Ukraine now.
“And if you’re an Irishman in Ukraine, the advice is to go home.”
On Irish parents having surrogacy babies in Ukraine, Mr Harris added: “This is an extremely sensitive and difficult issue. I have already seen a number of about 14 babies born in a very short period of time. We engage in foreign affairs individually with these families.
“I encourage any families who have not yet done so to approach our consular services directly and we will provide you with the best possible advice and obviously explore all options.
“But I am very aware that this is an extremely sensitive situation.”
He said that at the start of the pandemic, the government helped parents of babies born via surrogacy abroad.
“It’s not directly comparable,” he said. However, he added: “We have resolved these issues with them, so we will do everything we can to help and advise them.”