The impact of pandemic on surrogacy:
The coronavirus pandemic has imposed a lot of impacts in the business, economic and health sectors. Surrogacy is no exception especially after the lockdown in 2020. Countries across the world closed their borders and due to several travel restrictions, many international and inter-state parents were separated from their newborn ‘SurroBabe’.
Due to the striking global impact, International Commercial Surrogacy (ICS) faced a huge challenge. The virus posed a lot of threats to old people, those who had health conditions and infants. So, the parties in ICS, the agencies and the parents were worried that surrogacy-born children might be a huge risk.
Another important factor that caused negative consequences to the surrogacy process during the pandemic. It is the financial uncertainty. While several agencies try to provide enough financial stability for taking of the already born Surrogacy-babies until they are handed over to the real parents, it is the responsibility of all the involved parties to think twice before making a decision to opt for surrogacy in an uncertain pandemic situation.
Common issues faced during the pandemic:
The average length of the surrogacy process is about 13 to 18 months. But the COVID-19 has created additional delays, worries, financial issues etc. The most common issues faced by the intended parents, surrogate babies and surrogate mothers in California include:
• Travel difficulties for the intended parents who wish to claim the custody of the child.
• Due to safety restrictions, hospitals don’t allow multiple parties to attend the pregnancy.
• Delay in obtaining parental rights and legal procedures.
• Delay in issuing passports for the intended parents and the newborn surrogates due to closure and re-opening of several visa consulates.
• Health concerns related to the newborn baby during the pandemic.
• Delay in getting surrogacy treatment during the crisis.
• Lack of insurance coverage because of extended duration.
• Unavailability of surrogate mothers.
On average, it takes around $100,000 to $150,000 for the entire surrogacy journey. But the above-mentioned delays could cost the intended parents an extra $20,000. Since international parents approach California for surrogacy due to its well-defined laws, the pandemic has made surrogate mothers in California worry much about the delayed handing over of the infants, if financial support would be cut-off by the parents or if the intended parents would change their mind about adopting the child due to the delay and risks.
Measures to be taken to combat the issues in surrogacy caused by COVID-19:
The intended parents advised brainstorming with health professionals and surrogacy agencies if it’s a good decision to start the surrogacy process during this pandemic time. Now that vaccination has been started and several countries have reduced the number of COVID-19 cases, if surrogacy procedure starts now, by the time it completes in about 18 months, the pandemic situation could have been settled.
People who earnestly wish to complete their longing for children are raising in counts. So, surrogacy cannot be eliminated, instead, additional measures can be taken to deal with the issues the pandemic would cause. Below are a few:
• It is a basic rule in surrogacy that the surrogate mother is not legally associated with the baby after delivery. But, COVID-19 has forced delays in intended parents acquiring the rights of the child. So, surrogate mothers are pressured to care for the baby. A child care plan should be put in place that makes sure willing surrogacy mothers are provided with necessary financial support, a safe place and proper medical care to take care of the newborn until the actual parents take the child’s custody.
• In case of travel restrictions, if a child cannot be taken care of by the intended parents, then they should assign a temporary local guardian to claim the baby after birth. In any case, forcing surrogate mothers to look after the child, should be the last option.
It is unlikely that all international parents will know a local guardian, in that case, parents could approach charitable organizations, child cares to take care of the children. They could even get advice from attorneys to guide them to a trusted organization for the child’s custody until they can reach the surrogacy location.
Now that pandemic has taught all of us a lesson, in future, the surrogacy laws should include a provision naming a local guardian and how this person can be legally appointed to take care of the child. There should also be provisions that ensure protection to this temporary guardian from attorney, surrogates or surrogate agents. Also, proper terms should be mentioned in the surrogacy contract about who would pay for the temporary guardian. If a temporary guardian is assigned in the initial stages itself to act upon unexpected situations, then he or she should sign the contract to avoid any legal issues in the future.
• Insurance coverage should be extended or at least travel insurance should be encouraged to ensure safety and to reduce additional expenses.
Who has to be trusted during these unforeseen pandemic circumstances?
Being owned by a woman, the “Made in the USA surrogacy” agency knows the difficulty every surrogate mother and the babies face in unforeseen situations. So, there stay with the involved parties throughout their surrogacy journey right from finding a surrogate to parents taking the custody of the child and even beyond. They understand that it takes a big leap for the surrogate mothers to come forward and help intended parents during this pandemic. So, “Made in the USA surrogacy” stands out helping the new surrogate mothers by providing a sign-on bonus of $5000 while other agencies offer up to $1000.
Since fertility treatments are essential, they continue accepting new applications for surrogacy but not compromising any safety guidelines. They deal with the crisis by maintaining strict regulations and standards of surrogacy qualifications; not just that, they also make sure they associate with clinics following strict safety protocols.