The Nightmare of Being a Surrogate in Wartime

An ethical and logistical mess in Ukraine.
Photograph by Nanna Heitmann/Magnum, for The New York Times.

Even under the best of circumstances, surrogacy can be fraught. Now, Ukraine's surrogates are working under the worst of circumstances, forcing everyone involved — agencies, intended parents and surrogates — to make decisions based on imperfect information regarding matters of life and death. The starkness of war has laid bare the many ethical tensions that exist in surrogacy arrangements, casting into bold relief the power dynamics that underlie a contract in which a woman signs over the whole of her physical self.

Ukraine's booming surrogacy business has become a logistical and ethical mess — and hell for the women at the center.


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