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Israeli couple hope to save surrogate mother in Ukraine

Sarit and Alex Haiman video chat with Olga Voytenko, a surrogate mother in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, who is carrying her unborn child at her home in Israel
Sarit and Alex Haiman video chat with Olga Voytenko, a surrogate mother in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, who is carrying her unborn child, at her home in Hadera, Israel March 2, 2022. REUTERS/Nir Elias

March 3, 2022

By Rami Amichai and Rinat Harash

(Reuters) – An Israeli couple have asked for government help to rescue a surrogate mother carrying their child from the war in Ukraine.

Sarit Haiman, 47, had endured 12 years of unsuccessful fertility treatments before she and her husband Alex turned to an international surrogacy agency based in Israel.

Through the agency, they connected with Olga Voytenko, a 35-year-old factory worker who became pregnant six months ago after an embryo implantation. Voytenko lives in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia, which is in a combat zone with advancing Russian forces.

Haiman said they asked the Israeli foreign minister to help them get Voytenko and their two children out of the country.

“If she could safely cross the border that would be nice, but she can’t go out, not alone, not in the car, that’s very problematic. They can be shot at, so I’m very scared for them,” Haiman told Reuters.

In a video call from Ukraine, Voytenko expressed concern about being killed in the fighting or losing her home.

“We’re afraid of the cold, it’s very cold, we’re afraid of being there without food,” she said.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said its diplomats moved to the Ukraine-Polish border because of the fighting and offered consular services from there. Entry into Ukraine is not possible.

“We understand the sensitivity and complicated situation faced by the family and the surrogate mother,” the ministry said. “We’re happy to help the surrogate cross the border if she can make it to one of the border crossings where our people are located.”

The Haimans, who had already spent over NIS 250,000 (US$77,208) on the surrogacy process, said they were willing to fund the rescue costs.

Surrogacy is legal and cheaper in Ukraine than some other countries, and people from all over the world have been looking for surrogates there.

In May 2020, 51 babies from surrogates were stranded in the country after their foreign parents were unable to travel to pick them up due to lockdowns and travel bans resulting from the pandemic, underscoring the scale of the practice.

More than 660,000 people, mostly women and children, have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries since Russia invaded, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.

(Writing by Rinat Harash; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

https://www.oann.com/israeli-couple-hopes-to-rescue-surrogate-mother-in-ukraine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=israeli-couple-hopes-to-rescue-surrogate-mother-in-ukraine Israeli couple hope to save surrogate mother in Ukraine

Bobby Allyn

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