American Lawyer Stephanie Caballero shares with us some thoughts and recommendations to IP’s getting close to their baby’s birth in light of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
It is no doubt a stressful time for Intended Parents (IPs) expecting a baby in the United States via gestational surrogate during the Covid-19 pandemic. The situation regarding travel restrictions is constantly-evolving and there is no clear guidance as to whether IPs fall into any exceptions for “essential” travel, making plans to be present for the birth of the child difficult.
An exception to the US ban on travel from Europe exists for the immediate family members of US citizens. However, the unborn child is not established as a US citizen until birth. Under a strict interpretation, this prevents the IPs from entering the United States until after their child’s birth, even if they have a Judgment of Parentage declaring them the legal parents. Which documents might be needed to obtain a visa for entry into the US is unclear and could affect IPs’ timelines for travel (for example, a birth certificate could take weeks to obtain, while a letter confirming a live birth from the hospital would be available almost immediately). IPs would be best served by making an appointment at an embassy or consulate to discuss their options and develop a plan.
All IPs should be aware of quarantine requirements affecting their country of origin and should plan on satisfying these mandates with ample time prior to any travel. This might include spending a sufficient period of time outside of their home country prior to attempting entry into the US. Unfortunately, IPs should expect that they may not be able to be present for their child’s birth and develop a contingency plan. An attorney can draft a Power of Attorney or other legal document allowing someone else to take temporary care of the child until the family is able to be united. Ideally, this person would be someone the IPs know and trust in the United States, and who would be able to be present for the birth and discharge of the baby from the hospital. For IPs without such connections in the US, their agency might be able to help put them in contact with a nanny or other service that can provide assistance. Make sure any legal documents are presented to the hospital and approved by their legal counsel as soon as practicable in order to help ensure a smooth process.
Thank you Stephanie!
Stephanie M. Caballero
Stephanie, inspired by her personal experience with infertility and surrogacy, has exclusively practiced reproductive law for over a decade. She is principal and founder of The Surrogacy Law Center and serves on the boards of Fertile Action and Parents Via Egg Donation.