The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many different aspects in people’s lives. One of the more unique aspects deals with surrogacy matters. Surrogacy is experiencing a nationwide challenge due to the COVID-19 travel ban that has closed U.S. borders to a vast majority of international visitors who want to arrive to pick up their children.
In addition, the closure of U.S. passport offices around the country adds further complications. Such a development makes is more difficult for parents able to get into the country to secure the required documentation to return home with their children. This situation opens a potential array of stressful and complicated legal issues.
Uninsured children, added expenses
Here are some of the issues that have surfaced for parents and surrogates waiting until the COVID-19 crisis dissipates:
- Some parents have been unable to be present at their child’s birth because immigration officials do not allow them into the country until after the child is born. Some parents are not even allowed in the country. For most intended parents, however, successful means of obtaining the necessary travel visas have been established with the help of experienced assisted reproductive technology (fertility) attorneys and the U.S. State Department.
- In some cases, alternative third parties must be identified and authorized to take care of the children if the intended parents cannot be present until some time after their child’s birth. In the past, the industry has taken great care to avoid the chance of a surrogate bonding with the baby, so this is rarely the surrogate unless additional psychological screening and legal contracting is completed. Other alternatives that have been used include designated qualified third party guardians, surrogacy agency employees, and other women who have volunteered and who have previously been surrogates but did not carry this particular child.
- The children sometimes have issues with medical insurance if their parents cannot obtain the proper documentation to apply for and obtain such coverage such as birth certificates.
- Parents who can get their children accrue additional expenses because they must stay in the U.S. until they obtain proper documentation for their children. The situation in some cases may force parents to wait it out while living in hotels for weeks or months, and the surrogacy process already is expensive.
Such issues may affect surrogates and parents alike during these difficult times. Thankfully, experienced assisted reproductive technology attorneys have found successful and workable solutions for many if not all of these issues in the intervening months since the pandemic began. We can only hope that all of these issues become moot once the COVID-19 is successfully mitigated and controlled.