Couple’s ‘James Bond’ dash to get surrogate baby
A Brisbane couple are in a race of love to try to get to Ukraine for the birth of their desperately longed for baby who is due to be born via a surrogate mother within days.
Sophie Labaune Parkinson, 30, and her husband Julian, 44, have been devising James Bond style plans to cross Europe to skirt coronavirus travel bans.
Their child, whom they plan to call Liam, will be stateless until they arrive.
He will be kicked out of hospital 10 days after his birth with no family to look after him.
Sophie had travelled to France, where she was originally from, to try to get to Ukraine faster, but authorities there have refused to allow her to leave.
Now she plans to take them to court.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade negotiated a Ukrainian entry visa for Julian after News Corp Australia sent questions about his case this week.
To get to Ukraine he will have to fly to Europe, get a connecting flight to Minsk in Belarus, then drive to Novi Yarylovychi to get in through a Ukrainian border checkpoint before travelling to its capital Kiev.
"We are terrified just at the idea of thinking that we won't be there for the birth of our baby and we won't be the ones looking after our baby," Ms Labaune Parkinson said.
"The lack of humanity of the French government horrifies me.
"A child needs love and attention and it's well known that if it is merely fed and cleaned in its first weeks or months this can cause serious psychological problems later in life."
Their baby will not be recognised by Ukraine unless they can both get there to sign the birth certificate.
The surrogate mother, who has no legal right to the child under Ukrainian law, lives 10 hours from the clinic in the capital Kiev where the baby will be born and cannot look after him because she has children of her own.
They are worried there will be no-one to look after him because they will struggle to get there because of the coronavirus travel bans, with limited flights across the globe.
Mr Parkinson, a food importer, said the couple's dream was now a nightmare and he would have to make a "James Bond" style rescue effort.
"It's Sophie's one and only chance to be a mother, I might actually get to the baby before she does," he said.
"We started this process two years ago. We have a great surrogate, she's a beautiful person and we had healthy eggs and we had success straight away, then this happened.
"We've put a lot of sacrifice into this."
If he could find flights, he was likely to be in Ukraine later this month, but he will still need his wife there to sign the birth certificate.
The Parkinsons have paid more than $100,000 for the surrogacy and those costs were soaring.
And in Georgia, a former soviet bloc country, a Perth couple were stranded with triplets with no way to get back to Australia.
Kate, 48, and Russell, 34, welcomed three babies Julian, Tristan and Georgia, named after the country, on February 27.
But Georgia locked its borders and closed down its government offices which has stopped them from getting birth certificates that would allow them to get passports for their triplets.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was providing assistance to families with surrogate children.
"Obtaining visas and entry approval to some countries is also more complex and time consuming due to COVID-19 control measures. Australian intended parents will need to factor these issues into their planning around births," a spokesman said.
A diplomatic source at the Foreign Ministry in Paris said that Ukraine has banned all non-permanent residents from entering the country.
"Given the restrictions on international travel, family reunification and adoption procedures (in Ukraine) have had to be suspended for all non-residents," the source said.
Originally published as Brisbane couple's 'James Bond' dash to get surrogate baby