Dozens of newborn babies are stranded in Kyiv due to coronavirus lockdown

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By Shea Lawrence
Dozens of newborn babies are stranded in Kyiv due to coronavirus lockdown
Copyright  Efrem Lukatsky/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

At the Venice Hotel in Kyiv, 51 newborn babies born to surrogate mothers are stranded because their adoptive parents are not allowed to enter the country.

The infants were born as countries around the world faced strict travel restrictions and are currently under the care of BioTexCom, a reproduction clinic in the capital.

BioTexCom is the largest surrogacy clinic in Ukraine and drew attention when it released footage of rows of bassinets in the Venice Hotel.

The founder of the clinic, Albert Tochilovskiy, said some countries have arranged for parents to enter the country and see their children for the first time. But he added "we are still waiting for a response from other countries. Some countries said that won't provide any assistance in principle and they don't care how long parents will wait."

Ukraine has a thriving surrogate-motherhood industry and is one of the few countries that offers the service to foreigners.

Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine's human rights ombudsman said on Thursday that she is working with the country's Foreign Ministry to help parents obtain permits to enter Ukraine.

"These children who are here today, they are all problematic, because they cannot be with their parents," Denisova said to AP on Thursday. "They are from China, France, Spain, Italy, USA, Bulgaria. Everyone is in the same situation because the borders are closed."

More than 100 cases like this have been reported across the country and that number is on track to increase.

Ukraine is meant to be under lockdown until May 22nd. But the rate of new COVID-19 cases in the country has not decreased significantly making another lockdown extension a possibility.

Denisova warned that if lockdown is extended yet again, there will be thousands of newborns waiting for their adoptive parents.