KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Authorities have allowed foreign parents into Ukraine to collect babies who were born to surrogate mothers and stranded in the eastern European country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman, Lyudmila Denisova, said Wednesday that 31 couples had arrived and been united with their children.

“It is a special day. All government bodies have reacted quickly and helped….I have already met parents from Spain, whose daughter was born five weeks ago,” Denisova said on her Facebook page.

Andrea Diez of Argentina, who got to see her child for the first time, echoed Denisova’s sentiment.

“It`s a very good ending of the story, unbelievable,” Diez said.

A total of 125 babies around Ukraine were awaiting parents from abroad. Denisova said 88 more families have received entry permits and will come to Ukraine in the coming weeks.

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The infants were stranded in Ukraine after the country closed its borders to prevent virus infections. The newborns attracted wide attention after Biotexcom, the country’s largest surrogacy operation, posted a video showing dozens of babies in bassinets arrayed in tight rows in two large rooms of the hotel where the clinic puts up clients.

The company sought to reassure parents in 12 countries: China, the United States, Italy, Spain, Britain, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Mexico and Portugal – that their children were receiving good care, showing nurses bathing and caressing them.

Ukraine has a thriving surrogacy birth industry and is one of the few countries that allows foreigners to participate. About 50 clinics offer surrogate birth arrangements operate in the country, where economic struggles drive many Ukrainian women to become surrogate mothers.

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Karmanau reported from Minsk, Belarus.