Julian Parkinson, their surrogate mother, and Sophie Labaune Parkinson, of Brisbane with baby Liam in Ukraine
Julian Parkinson, their surrogate mother, and Sophie Labaune Parkinson, of Brisbane with baby Liam in Ukraine

Aussie couple’s journey to get to son's birth

An Australian couple involved in a multi-country mission to rescue their surrogate baby from Ukraine finally have their prized bundle of joy.

Sophie Labaune Parkinson, 30, and her husband Julian, 44, have spent the past few weeks getting to know baby Liam, who was born on May 22.

"I can't believe we've done it," Mr Parkinson said.

News Corp Australia revealed in April the Brisbane pair's desperate struggle to get to Ukraine to sign Liam's birth certificate as his lawful parents and undertake DNA tests.

Ms Labaune Parkinson was in France - where she had travelled to on the first leg of her journey - when coronavirus bans hit, complicating her travel plans.

The French government did not allow her permission to leave to fly to Belarus, which was the only country that had an open border with Ukraine, but she took a risk and went anyway.

Meanwhile, Mr Parkinson had to get special travel permission from Australia to ultimately join her on the journey.

Sophie Labaune Parkinson and baby Liam at a cafe in Ukraine. Picture: Supplied
Sophie Labaune Parkinson and baby Liam at a cafe in Ukraine. Picture: Supplied

"Sophie didn't have permission to enter Belarus and didn't have an exit visa," Mr Parkinson said.

"She ended up in a no man's land near the border where you can't turn around at midnight."

He said a fixer helped get his wife into Ukraine, after she had flown into Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

"She helped her right across the border and through the checkpoint. They didn't block us."

The couple spent time with Liam's surrogate Lenura - who gave birth to him via cesarean section - in Kiev, before she went home last week.

Mr Parkinson said it was difficult to part with Liam's birth mother.

"We said goodbye to our surrogate. She knows what she's given us," he said.

Baby Liam Parkinson, born on May 22 weighing 3.89kg to an Australian couple via surrogacy. Picture: Supplied
Baby Liam Parkinson, born on May 22 weighing 3.89kg to an Australian couple via surrogacy. Picture: Supplied

Mr Parkinson is now back in Australia. Mrs Parkinson remains looking after Liam in Ukraine.

Mother and baby will have to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel in Australia upon return, which Mr Parkinson said would be tricky and they were applying for an exemption.

Liam, who was born weighing 3.89kg and was 55cm, had DNA sent to Poland to prove that he was the Parkinsons' biological child and eligible for an Australian passport.

Sophie Labaune Parkinson, husband Julian and baby Liam after he was born via surrogacy in a hospital in Ukraine. Picture: Supplied
Sophie Labaune Parkinson, husband Julian and baby Liam after he was born via surrogacy in a hospital in Ukraine. Picture: Supplied

Paid surrogacy is illegal in Australia, with only altruistic arrangements allowed, which leads many couples to go overseas.

There were at least 50 Australian couples struggling to get to Ukraine and Georgia to meet their children when the coronavirus hit.

The Parkinsons paid more than $100,000 for the surrogacy, although costs can be up to $200,000.



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