Having tried unsuccessfully for years to have children, the couple eventually sought a surrogate mother in Ukraine in 2007.
But when the pair went to the Swedish embassy in Kiev following the birth of their son André, they were told they’d have to wait before he could be issued a passport allowing the infant to come to Sweden.
“It’s terrible that an innocent child has to suffer like this,” said the father, referred to by Aftonbladet as “John”.
It took three attempts before an implanted embryo took hold in the surrogate’s womb, and ever since, John and his wife “Sara” have observed the pregnancy via telephone and internet, and have also traveled to Ukraine to meet the surrogate mother.
In Sweden, surrogacy is currently prohibited, but it is not uncommon for Swedish couples to seek surrogate mothers abroad and then bring their children back to Sweden.
André was conceived using John’s sperm and an egg from a donor, which constituted enough of a genetic connection between father and son for Ukrainian authorities to list John and Sara as André’s parents on his Ukrainian birth certificate.
But according to Swedish law, the surrogate, who is Ukrainian, is the boy’s mother, which turned out to be a complicating factor when his John and Sara sought to get their son a Swedish passport.
After spending a week bonding with their André in the maternity ward in Kiev, the couple then went to the Swedish embassy to get him a passport, only to be told they would have to wait.
“We came to apply for a provisional passport for André, but were treated so arrogantly. We had sent an email ahead of time and explained that we would be coming. We had also asked the authorities in Sweden about what papers we needed and had everything with us. But we weren’t even allowed to present them,” said Sara to Aftonbladet.
“It’s so humiliating, this is my son by Sweden won’t accept him. It’s terrible that a little innocent child is stuck like this between Ukrainian and Swedish law,” added John.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has promised to help the couple overcome the legal limbo currently preventing them from bringing André back to Sweden.
“They just need to deal with some more paperwork,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Cecilia Julin to the Expressen newspaper, adding that she is “certain” André will be able to accompany his parents to Sweden eventually.