International surrogacy during the COVID-19 pandemic: Travel, getting your baby home & parental orders

The pandemic is causing chaos across the board, including for UK families going through international surrogacy. Parents from the UK who are expecting a baby through surrogacy cannot cancel or defer their child’s birth. We need practical solutions for safeguarding children born across borders while the world shuts down, and we’re doing our part to help.

We’re helping with travel & passports for babies born via international surrogacy

We have been working urgently with parents this weekend who have just had newborn babies born through surrogacy in the USA and have unexpectedly found themselves stuck overseas.

The US passport office announced on Friday that it is closed to all in-person passport applications – thereby shutting down the only quick way to bring a baby born through US surrogacy home to the UK. The Foreign Office is also advising all UK citizens not to travel overseas, and travel restrictions are in place. With worry over safety, the risk of infection and medical insurance, these British parents are desperate to bring their new babies home to the UK as quickly as possible.

We are doing everything we can to help them, including making urgent applications to the UK authorities and pushing for government to treat this as urgent, to get these newborns home safely.

If you are affected, please contact us as we may be able to help you, whether your child has been born through surrogacy in the USA, Ukraine, Georgia, Canada or elsewhere.

Supporting parents with babies due through international surrogacy in the next few months

We are also working with parents worried about getting to their child’s birth abroad in the months ahead, as well as bringing their babies home. If you are expecting a baby through surrogacy overseas, you will now need to navigate new travel restrictions, possible government lockdown policies and cancelled flights, and this is all fast changing.

Our advice for upcoming international surrogacy births

Depending on how imminently your child is due, we would recommend:

  • Putting in place emergency guardianship documents so someone appropriate can care for your child if you can’t get there for the birth.
  • Keeping a very close eye on the detail of travel restrictions and making sure you have the right professionals in place to help with navigating them at the right moment.
  • Staying informed about the processes for getting home as quickly as possible after your child is born, and taking advantage of any new emergency procedures we are able to get implemented.
  • Making Wills to ensure your child is protected if anything happens to you.

If we know you already and we know you are pregnant, we will be in touch shortly with more information. If you have not been in touch with us yet and need some support, then do contact us and we will be happy to help you.

Parental order applications are continuing during COVID-19

There is better news in relation to UK court applications. Unlike in some other countries, the UK family court has not closed but, as of Friday, has switched to remote court hearings with immediate effect.

There may be some delays and bumps in the road while the system is sorted but parental order applications should continue as normal (and remote hearings may even be preferable for many parents, particularly those based overseas).

If you have a hearing listed imminently you will need to take some steps to arrange a remote hearing. Otherwise the court should notify you of what will happen.

Again, if we are managing your parental order application or if you have been in touch already, we will be getting more information to you, but if not, please contact us if you need help.

We’re here to help

Find out more about overseas surrogacy on our international surrogacy law services page, or contact us for advice on travel, parental orders and navigating the coronavirus crisis.

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