Some estimates claim that prior to February, Ukraine provided about 60% of the global market in surrogacy. In February, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the whole surrogacy industry in Ukraine halted. Consequently, all but Chinese nationals have also abandoned surrogacy programs in Russia. Global Surrogacy managed to get the last baby born in Russia to our clients less than five weeks after he was born in April. We also managed to get the embryos of all bar one of our clients out of Ukraine into another program.
We look forward to the days when we can return to our Ukrainian programs, but from a practical perspective of wanting to ensure our client’s safety, it will be at least two years away. We will not return to Russia unless there is a fundamental and wholesale change to the administration and government. Practically we see that as being five-plus years away.
Despite the war, intending parents worldwide are still enthusiastically moving forward with surrogacy programs. Some might say they are moving ahead more enthusiastically than before because of the COVID pandemic and the Ukrainian war. These intended parents have fewer options for international surrogacy, meaning all programs in all countries are very busy. Many programs now have significant waiting times to be matched with a surrogate.
In addition to these pressures on the surrogacy market, the programs in Canada and United States are also under pressure from COVID vaccination issues and the US Supreme Court ruling on abortion. All these factors combined are putting pressure on the availability of surrogates and the cost of programs.
With the exception of our Greek program, which now has an approximate lead time of 6 months, we are still managing to match surrogates with intended parents within a few weeks of the IPs being ready to proceed (this means they have embryos). We expect these pressures to intensify in the coming months and continue throughout 2023.
One of the benefits of undertaking a program with Global Surrogacy is that if some external event or a change in government regulations impacts a particular intended parent’s capacity to complete a surrogacy program, we are able to move clients to a different clinic or country to continue their program.