What type of transportation is available for the surrogate to reach the clinic?
The most important transportation of course during lockdown is always private transportation or regular transportation. But in every case, we always have an individual approach. Because for some surrogates it is easier to take a taxi to get to the clinic in 30 minutes – 1 hour in Kyiv.
For some situations, it is not an option at all because the surrogate lives few hours out of Kyiv, so it will cost much more and will be difficult. So, in this case, regular transportation can be much better and safer. Cause like this we will be sure about the driver, the car and safe social distance.
So in every case, we are finding the best solution for a surrogate to reach the clinic. The most important is safety.
And if she needs to do any blood or urine tests, for example, she can stay at home and proceed with tests with a local laboratory and send us results distantly to minimize risks of traveling during a pandemic. But if it is a milestone visit, like a prenatal screening appointment, that must be done on a specific day and can be done at the same time with ultrasound and blood sampling. In that case we are planning such visits in advance, since she must come to ADONIS.
How do program coordinators plan medical appointments and logistics for surrogates under more restrictive mandates?
The surrogate has for now no permission to use public transportation in Kyiv because such permission can be given to medical staff only or in other special cases. These measures from our government are made to keep people from contacting each other in public to prevent us from the virus.
In this situation surrogates have to use taxis. They will have a driver to pick them at the railway station and deliver them to the clinic. So they are not contacting with people in public transport. But of course, it is an extra charge, that will be included in the clients’ bills or not depending on the range of expenses.
How can we ensure that the surrogate is practicing recommended safety measures to stay healthy?
It is forbidden to go outside without a mask for all citizens. Even for walking on the street, we are recommended to have a mask. And of course a surrogate is very interested to be healthy and be successful in the program. So they are always using masks and sanitizers. Also, they are always instructed before being added to our database. We recommend not even do shopping themselves and their children to stay home and do not visit school or kindergarten if it is possible.
What is the protocol for handling emergency situations during the surrogacy program? In what cases is the surrogate required to notify the coordinator about changes in or concerns about her condition?
Of course, some emergency situations may happen during the program since it is an IVF program and the surrogate is taking medicines to get pregnant to have hormonal support.
So if the surrogate has any problem she is informing us immediately 24/7. Then we contact our doctor directly and get recommendations according to the situation distantly at the moment. And the surrogate must follow all doctor’s recommendations and if the emergency case can not wait, she goes to the local Emergency Department or clinic. We can not waste time for her coming to Kyiv. If she is in Kyiv, she is moving to ADONIS to get medical support. Anyway such situations are always with our permission and under our doctors’ control.
And our team of coordinators is helping with communication between doctors and surrogates in such cases as well. We have a chat for such emergencies, it is always teamwork.
In every situation, we are informing our clients as soon as it is needed.
And concerning to pandemic situation, there is no problem in hospitals to accept pregnant women, there is enough capacity for that.
How is the transportation of biomaterial being organized during COVID?
At ADONIS we prefer to have hand-carried carriers and have preferred carries. And during the COVID-19 pandemic is very important that all of their carriers are vaccinated.
During pandemic, there were some changes with airlines, but we are working with Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa that are working well now.
The only problem is that airlines limiting the number of flights and number of travelers is increasing. So sometimes can be not easy to get a seat on a flight. We are trying to work as fast as we can to deliver materials to Kyiv in time.
What are the requirements for the international transportation of biomaterial?
First of all, all the documents need to be done correctly according to American and Ukrainian requirements and translated into 2 languages.
The next important thing is the certificate of genetic affinity to make sure that the exit process will go smoothly.
Also, we need infectious disease testing to be done to keep surrogates safe in the first place as well.
Can the surrogate sign an agreement or start stimulation before my required original documents or my biomaterial has arrived at the clinic?
In each country, we have some legal requirements and we must follow them, otherwise, the surrogacy program will become illegal.
For example, clients from USA provide us with a power from an attorney, so they do not need to come to Ukraine for signing any paper. They just need to provide this power from an attorney with apostille and we give it a public notary. And only after this the notary can certify on behalf of any needed documents for the program.
Also in Ukraine, you need to have a notarial agreement between the client and surrogate mother. Without his documents, the process can not be started at all.
The apostille or consulate authorization of marriage certificate is needed as well, since the surrogacy program in Ukraine is only possible for married heterosexual couples. Without it, the program can not also be started. We do not need the original documents, but we need at least a scan of Apostille.
We do not provide any services unless they are completely legal.
Does the surrogate have decision-making power about the medical process?
First of all, we should undertake that a surrogate mother is a third party of the surrogate program. But as well as parents they should listen to the doctor’s team, who are responsible for the health of the surrogate and the fetus. In some cases when the situation is connected to the body of the surrogate she has the right to say no, like in the case of vaccination. She has the right to say no to the vaccination if parents suggest it, but it’s not an obligation. But if she was recommended by the doctor then she has no right to say no. In this case, the opinion of a doctor is the most important. Even the client does not have the right. But when the question is connected to the fetus and the doctor make any recommendations, all must follow his recommendations.
Do you expect any impact of the Embassy due to lockdown?
At the moment all embassies on a special schedule and you can book an appointment in advance. But of course, they have the right to change their rules accordingly to the laws of the country of origin. So it is better to keep updated with rules from their website. But we have a lawyer department to monitor this question.
What is the situation with vaccinations in Ukraine? Has the surrogate been vaccinated already?
It is always changing situation.
Till the moment we do not know how the vaccination influencing the body of pregnant women. So the vaccinations for pregnant women have not been done until it will not be permitted and confirmed there is no negative influence on a pregnant woman.
There are no recommendations from the Ministry of Health about pregnant women vaccinations.
It is possible to get vaccination who are on the priority list (like medical staff). All others people who have no antibodies can also get it due to schedule/waiting list.
What are the requirements for foreigners to travel to Ukraine?
They must have a negative result of PCR test issued up to 72 hours and COVID-19 health insurance.