As many as 1,000 babies born to surrogate mothers in Russia for foreign families have been left stranded in the country by the coronavirus pandemic and closure of international borders, the Guardian has been told.
The babies, some born as far back as February, are being cared for mainly by hired caregivers in rented apartments in Moscow, St Petersburg, and other Russian cities.
Paid surrogacy is only allowed in a few countries around the world, including Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and some states in the US. The discovery of dozens of stranded babies at a Ukrainian surrogate company in May drew attention to how Covid-19 had disrupted the industry.
The situation has been complicated by the arrest on human trafficking charges of four doctors and four other employees – including a courier and a translator – from two fertility clinics that work with surrogate pregnancies.