Surrogacy has been around, in one form or another, for millennia. While reports of untoward and exploitive practice abound all over the world, it hasn’t stopped surrogacy from expanding. Like many types of novel medical technology- surrogacy has undergone its fair share of bad press. But for it or against it, you can’t deny the incredible tech behind the latest in reproductive medicine.
Surrogacy in Ukraine is one of the biggest industries in the reproductive tourism circuit. Thousands of babies are born each year, to couples who had little other choices. While this is the greatest gift an intended family can receive, what surrogacy has done for the advancement of medical technology continues to be an unsung hero. Ukraine surrogacy programs and the concomitant industries have provided thousands with jobs and pressured science to keep up with demand. Providing better options for couples that suffer from a multitude of problems, as well as better equipment and research opportunities.
So how exactly is the tech changing the industry?
A Brief History of Surrogacy Ukraine
In 1995, Ukraine welcomed their first surrogate born child. Since that day, through legislation and burgeoning medical practices, Ukraine has seen a massive boom in reproductive tourism.
In 2006, the country amended and set forth clear legislation regarding surrogacy and the rules and regulations surrounding it. These rules paint a clear picture of how the surrogacy should be performed. Struck enough to deter nefarious activities, but also broad enough to encourage the advancement of the sciences.
Since that time, Ukraine has seen an ever-growing economic interest in reproductive technologies. By 2014, Ukraine saw over 30 licensed clinics providing surrogacy centred medicine, 10% of which was to international parents. That number has climbed by almost 20% each year since then. Of all the clinics that provide assisted reproductive technologies, we spoke with the only Forbes recognized company to get the details on how technology is changing the industry.
Tech is Making Tracks
Using state-of-the-art technology and novel medical practice, ilaya has kindly shared the methods they use to help produce happy and healthy babies to couples worldwide. A representative for Ilaya’s Ukraine surrogacy program, tells us that since using the specialized equipment and protocols, a total of 2848 IVF cycles were performed with ECO protocols between the years of 2012-2018. Resulting in 1281 children born, thanks to the impressive work of Ilaya’s scientist and physicians alike.
It all starts with an egg…
Egg (oocytes) and sperm (spermatozoa) cells are collected from donors, or from the intended parents themselves. Collection methods for sperm are far more straightforward and decidedly less tech than those utilized for egg collection. During oocyte collection, donors are given fertility medications to improve egg release and production.
Once taken effect, donors are sedated and eggs are collected using transvaginal ultrasound and fine-needle aspiration techniques. Which is a far cry from historical egg collection techniques? Using gentle suction, eggs can be retrieved directly from the follicles, where it’s not unusual to remove up to 20 oocytes. These are then transferred to a medium and allowed to mature.
Once the oocyte has matured and can be assessed for viability, ilaya uses the latest in ICIS (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) technology. Utilizing a powerful Leika DMi8 microscope, with the highest quality optical reproduction. In order to efficiently and effectively inject spermatozoa directly into the mature oocyte, ilaya uses the Narishige Takanoma system- a titan in micromanipulation technology. The Narishige Takanoma system is a four-axis hanging joystick, used for micromanipulation. The oil hydraulic system allows for flawless microinjection by visualization of the needle catheter while adjusting the pipette angle. This system eliminates the need for a separate coarse manipulator and reduces the probability of pipette breakage. Making it possible to carry out accurate injection with fewer errors. Which is good news for anyone working with limited tissue and micromanipulation?
Ilaya’s surrogacy Ukraine program utilizes the gold standard of flatbed incubators- the ESKO MIRI. These systems allow for setting optimum gaseous concentrations for ideal embryo growth. They require no need for humidification systems, eliminating the possibility of contamination. Each ESKO MIRI system also provides individual incubation areas, so each embryo gets its very own spot.
To further reduce error and mix-ups, ilaya marks each cryopreserved material with an individual code generation system, which is read using a Zebra scanner.
Choosing the right embryo
Using Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), Ilaya’s Ukraine team assesses each viable embryo for genetic and chromosomal disease and defect. Each material is sampled at laminar tables ESKO- which maintains temperature stability, regime, and purity of the environment. So as not to negatively compromise the embryos and oocytes. Selection is carried out under the microscope Zeizz.
Also read, BENEFITS OF HEALTHY EATING AND EXERCISE
Ukraine Surrogacy, Not Just a Price Tag
While it’s no secret that surrogacy programs in Ukraine run at a fraction of the price of similar programs in other countries, there’s more to the hype than just the price.
Surrogacy Ukraine offers intended parents unlimited IVF (in vitro fertilization) attempts, as well as poses no restrictions on maternal age. Something you may not find in other places. Thanks to the novel IVF techniques and excellent viability assessments, ilay has reported a 62.4% pregnancy rate after the first IVF attempt, with a 75.8% rate after two consistent cycles.
Their cryogenic technology is also at the top of the field, with a 98% survival rate of embryos after thawing, which are all suitable for replanting. Cryogenics allow for materials such as sperm, eggs, and embryos to be rapidly cooled using liquid nitrogen or solid carbon dioxide. These techniques allow for the preservation of materials without the damaging effects of ice crystal formation. Giving parents the option to preserve their biological material should disease or treatment threatens the future viability of their tissues.
With all of this newfound technology, and ilaya constantly pushing the envelope of practice and procedure- Ukraine surrogacy can offer hopeful parents the promise of a future that historically, they couldn’t have.