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KYIV, Ukraine  When Tanya, a 45-year-old woman living in Los Angeles, paid $10,000 and sent two embryos to a surrogacy firm in Ukraine hoping to build a family six years ago, she says she never expected the uncertainty and heartbreak the process would bring.

Tanya desperately wanted a child but found out she would be unable to conceive herself. After discovering how expensive surrogacy in the U.S. can be, she and her husband began pursuing options abroad — and came across the Kyiv-based company BioTexCom. Tanya’s parents were originally from Odesa, so she felt there was something fitting about her future child being born in Ukraine.

Once the process began with BioTexCom in fall 2017, however, Tanya had an uneasy feeling. After sending her embryos, she says, she was told they would be implanted in a surrogate almost immediately — a timeline that didn’t fit with all the research Tanya had done into the surrogacy process. When, a few days later, the firm told her the embryo transfer had been unsuccessful and provided minimal information about why, she...