22 Mar 2020 ART Professionals Share Info for Surrogates, Intended Parents Navigating COVID-19
I was honored to participate recently in a national surrogacy professionals COVID-19 webinar designed to share information and best practices to help surrogates and intended parents plan and cop during the crisis.
Originally, I had planned to join the webinar from our IFLG New York office, but in the face of widening travel bans and the California governor’s stay-at-home order I joined in from our office in Santa Monica. Joining me on the webinar were Alison Wilson, Ph.D.; Dr. Eve C. Feinberg, Northwestern Medicine Fertility and Reproductive Medicine; Sarah Page, ARTRISK; Steve Snyder, Esq., IARC; Dr. Said Daneshmand, San Diego Fertility Center; Jennifer White, Colorado Surrogacy – SEEDS; Wendie Wilson, Gifted Journeys – SEEDS; and Dean Hutchison, Circle Surrogacy – American Bar Association.
My contribution to the conversation covered three areas of legal concern for intended parents and/or surrogates:
- The financial and legal ramifications of delaying procedures and cycles, in addition to medical and health considerations
- Intended parents’ travel and admission to the United States from other countries for their babies’ birth
- Intended parents’ travel with their new babies from the U.S. and admission to their home countries
Among the issues of concern for intended parents and surrogates whose plans have been disrupted by the pandemic are cancelled cycle fees contained in surrogacy agreements; unexpected expenses such as extended travel schedules or additional insurance caused by the unprecedented situation; potential lost wages; and isolation periods imposed at either leg of intended parents’ journey. With consulates and public agencies operating on reduced schedules or limited staffing, advance planning is important to determine policies and obtain necessary documents. In some cases, intended parents prevented from traveling to their babies’ births will need to make guardianship and fostering arrangements.
As my colleagues and I work to help intended parents, donors and surrogates navigate the confusing waters of this pandemic, we will continue to share our discussions and best ideas. As I reminded the group, while our hearts go out to our clients who find themselves in this tough situation through no fault of their own, we also have great confidence in their resilience and perseverance. As all of us fortunate enough to work in this exciting field of assisted reproductive technology know, intended parents and surrogates are committed, focused and determined. They have been through months and years of ups and downs; they have researched and prepared; they have spent thousands of dollars on fertility services. COVID-19 is not an insignificant obstacle on their road to parenthood, but it is one that all of us, working together, will get through.
Stay tuned for our next COVID-19 surrogacy professionals webinar, to be recorded Thursday, March 26.