An Irish mother who traveled to Ukraine for the birth of her surrogate daughters has revealed that she is trapped in the war-torn country due to problems obtaining Irish passports for her newborn daughters. 

Cathy Wynne and her husband Paul recently told the Irish Independent how they've spent the last 10 years investing in fertility programs in a bid to grow their family.

The couple traveled to Ukraine for the birth of their twin daughters Chloe and Lily, who arrived roughly four weeks premature in July.

However, the twin girls, who were born via surrogacy, have no legal relationship with their mother due to a lack of regulations surrounding international surrogacy programs. 

Cathy and Paul have spent the last five weeks trying to secure emergency passports in order to get their daughters out of Ukraine but have been unable to secure Irish passports since Cathy is not legally recognized as their mother. 

Paul is legally recognized as the father of the newborn twins, but the UK Government has terminated its emergency passport scheme for children born via surrogacy in Ukraine. 

Consequently, the family now faces an agonizing 13-week wait before they can secure UK passports for the two girls and return to Ireland. 

Cathy told the Irish Independent that she has rented an apartment in Kyiv along with her husband while trying to sort out the issue, adding that it has been difficult to bond with her children in such a stressful situation. 

"Any time we get on our own, it’s either worrying about bomb warnings, or seeing news flashes coming from the president asking you to take cover. Then you’re trying to fit in all the admin around trying to get them out of the country," Cathy told the Irish Independent. 

The couple said they began attempting to have children via surrogacy programs in Ukraine shortly before Russia invaded the country in February 2022. 

Cathy said Chloe and Lily are not legally recognized as her children, according to Irish law, which states that the surrogate mother is the legal mother because she gave birth to the child. Cathy can apply to adopt Lily and Chloe, but this process can take up to two years. 

"The law in Ireland states that as the mother of a child born through surrogacy, I have no rights. My twin girls, Lily and Chloe, legally they’re not my children. And until the laws in Ireland change, they never will be." 

Cathy and Paul have been married for over 10 years and lived together in Ireland for five years before their wedding and Cathy believes that the Irish Government should "break a bit of red tape" and provide assistance in getting their children back to Ireland. 

"We both live in Ireland. I’m Irish, born and bred. Paul’s lived with me for 10 years, probably five more before we got married. We have a house in Ireland. The girls are going to live in Ireland." 

She told the Irish Independent that the complications regarding Lily and Chloe's passports have caused a lot of "tears and stress."

She added that she and her husband spend most of their time printing off documents and meeting with solicitors, leaving them little time to bond with their newborn children. 

They urged the Irish Government to act and provide assistance with their return to Ireland. Otherwise, they will have to wait until November before Chloe and Lily have obtained their UK passports. It would take roughly three weeks to secure an emergency Irish passport. 

The Irish Government has previously warned Irish couples using a surrogate mother in Ukraine not to travel to the wartorn country. 

In a statement issued in March, the Department of Foreign Affairs said it "strongly advises" against any travel to Ukraine, "for any purpose."

"The Department is aware of and concerned about a number of citizens who continue to enter Ukraine for the purpose of engaging in surrogacy arrangements," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement in March. 

"The situation across Ukraine remains extremely dangerous and the Department strongly advises against entering into surrogacy arrangements in Ukraine." 

The statement said the warning has been in place since November last year, adding that the Department's capacity to provide consular assistance in Ukraine is "extremely limited."

The Irish Examiner reported in March that the DFA also issued warnings about a high level of miscarriages, premature babies, and children being born in poor nutritional circumstances in Ukraine.

However, IVMED Family in Kyiv - a surrogacy clinic in Ukraine - told the Examiner that a number of Irish families are still using its services despite the outbreak of the war.