Couple hopes to rescue surrogate mother in Ukraine

STORY: This Israeli couple has asked the government help rescue a surrogate mother carrying their child from the war in Ukraine.

After 12 years of unsuccessful fertility treatments, Sarit Haiman and her husband Alex connected with Olga Voytenko, through an international surrogacy agency.

Voytenko lives in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, an area of fighting with advancing Russian forces.

"We are scared of death, we don't want to be killed, we don't want our houses and lives to be destroyed, we are scared of the cold, it's very cold, we are scared of being left without food, this is what's going to happen if nothing changes."

Sarit shares this worry, both for Voytenko and her unborn child:

"I'm very scared, first of all for her, as a person that has her own family and of course I'm very scared for my child who is in her stomach, that she is carrying. So, this is the first time that I ever had the opportunity to go beyond the few months of the embryo... I'm very scared for it and for her and the situation can make her go through abortion and I'm very very scared. Unfortunately I know it's very hard to hear but I'm very scared that she is going to go through something horrible like abortion and she will have health problems a nd I will be empty handed."

The Haimans said they have asked Israel's foreign minister to help them get Voytenko and her two children out of the country, and are willing to finance the rescue costs.

"I wrote to Mr. Lapid (Israeli Foreign Minister) and asked him to help us, as a young-old couple and to take Olga and her family out of Ukraine and she will be protected. But the problem is to get her out of Ukraine. Inside of Ukraine if she could go through the border and be safe it will be beautiful, but she cannot go out, not by herself, not by car, it’s very problematic. They can be shot at, so I'm very scared for them."

Due to the fighting, Israel’s diplomats have moved to the Ukraine-Poland border, offering consular services from there. Entering Ukraine is not a possibility.

The ministry stated “we will gladly assist the surrogate to cross the border” if she can make it to one of the crossings where they are located.