03 Apr 2020 ART Attorneys Urge Emergency Action on Newborn Passports During COVID-18 Crisis
Among the many challenges intended parents are facing during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the difficulty in obtaining newborn passports enabling them to take their babies born via surrogacy in the United States back to their home countries.
In a still developing story, assisted reproduction attorneys around the country are urging the U.S. State Department to waive COVID-19-related restrictions on new passports to allow international intended parents to take their babies back home. Because of newly instituted restrictions on the issuance of passports, these families are unable to secure a passport for their child and are in very serious danger of being stranded in this country even when it is safe for them to return home. The State Department has authority to issue the infant passports on an emergency basis, allowing families to travel.
A second avenue may be for parents to speak to their home country consulate/embassy about possibly obtaining a home-country passport for their newborn, or, alternatively, obtaining temporary travel documents, referred to a “laissez-passer” (French for “let pass”). However, parents must be prepared for yet another obstacle in this regard, as countries have shut down consulates in response to the pandemic, as I discussed last week in a webinar with surrogacy professionals from throughout the U.S.
The State Department’s understandable action in restricting emergency passport services in response to the COVID-19 crisis created unintended consequences for international intended parents and their families. We hope U.S. authorities will find a way to help these intended parents, trapped with their babies in a global crisis that no one could have foreseen.