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Nothing crystallizes the “her body, my baby” conundrum of surrogacy quite like a war. Should a surrogate be tucked away somewhere safe, to protect the child she’s growing for someone else? Or should she be with her own family, or in her hometown, or even out on the streets defending her nation?

That is a live question in Ukraine right now.

Ukraine is an international surrogacy hub, one of only a handful of countries in the world that allows foreigners to enter into surrogacy arrangements. That means people from the United States or China or Germany or Australia can go there and hire a local woman to gestate their child. There are conditions—the parents have to be straight and married and have a medical reason for needing a surrogate—but surrogates are plentiful, paying them is legal, and establishing legal parenthood for the intended parents is uncomplicated.

How many babies are born in Ukraine through surrogacy is not known—perhaps 2,500 a year. BioTexCom, one large fertility clinic based in Kyiv, confirmed to me that... see more