Doroteya Nikolova, from Bulgaria, is currently employed as a radio show host, news editor and broadcast journalist at Radio Varna - a regional station of the Bulgarian National Radio network.
She is an experienced news reporter and editor, having worked for the Dnevnik daily newspaper, Capital weekly and Morski Dnevnik weekly - where she was as a correspondent in the city of Varna.
Doroteya's researched the international surrogacy business, and why ‘renting a womb’ remains a highly-charged taboo in many Balkan states.
Her article, Women Head East for Wombs to Rent, demonstrated that infertility is still regarded as a curse by many in the Balkans. For her research, she followed the women travelling to Ukraine to find surrogate mothers.
Ukraine is now a key destination for women desperate to have children, as Kiev offers cheaper fees and liberal surrogacy legislation.
Doroteya travelled to Ukraine, Romania and Serbia for her fellowship project. Her research was supervised by Albena Shkodrova, an editor for BIRN’s Balkan Insight.
Barrenness is a social stigma in the Balkans - but those who attempt to get round this by obtaining surrogate mothers run up against once obstacle after another.
Banned from paying someone to carry a child for them at home, infertile women travel as far as Ukraine in search of surrogate mothers
Did I say that I have an unhealthy interest in Balkan countries? My last trip, which included both Romania and Serbia, just proved it.
The next point of my research into maternal surrogacy, Ukraine, was a really big surprise for me. I know the Balkan countries well and also the post-Soviet development of East Europe.
Well, I have started my adventure, investigating maternal surrogacy. I drew up a plan and listed some people to contact for interview over the coming weeks.