In a previous blog post, we discussed a distressing side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic for individuals and families using international surrogacy arrangements. Due to ongoing travel bans, delays in issuing birth certificates, and restrictions and strict limitations on new passport issuances earlier this year, many intended parents found themselves trapped in the U.S. indefinitely, unable to take their children home. In other cases, intended parents have been unable to enter the U.S. to be present for their babies’ births or in the first weeks and even months of the babies’ lives.
While the U.S. State Department began issuing passports again in July, processing backlogs are expected to take up to six months. For intended parents who may have used most of their savings for the surrogacy, it has become a nightmare to determine how to pay for inflated international airline tickets and unplanned-for travel expenses, including mandatory quarantines in both the U.S. and their home countries in some cases.
There are no exact statistics available, but estimates are that this crisis is impacting hundreds of babies and their intended families. With parents unable to be present to take their children directly from the hospital at birth, surrogacy agency workers, charitable organizations, and even gestational carriers have stepped up to provide care for these infants – a solution nobody anticipated or wanted.
These care arrangements are concerning on a number of fronts. The caregivers could be held responsible if a child becomes ill, is injured, or otherwise suffers harm while in their care. Medical care, too, is a concern for these uninsured infants. And, in situations where gestational carriers have stepped up to provide temporary homes for the children they bore for intended parents, there is a concern that they will bond with the children making the eventual unification with the intended parents that much more difficult.
Unfortunately, this scenario is not abstract and has affected clients of The Surrogacy Law Center too. We continue to work with impacted clients to help them find options and solutions under these trying circumstances. If you need assistance, please contact us today!