Travel Exemptions Granted For IVF Tourism and Surrogacy

Caitlin Fitzsimmons | The Sydney Morning Herald | June 13, 2021

A surrogacy education charity is helping Australian citizens obtain COVID travel exemptions from the government to go abroad for IVF treatment or surrogacy arrangements not available under federal or state law. All but one state in Australia forbid commercial surrogacy and all require egg donation be altruistic, so eggs are not available and intended parents are traveling outside the country for fertility treatments. Proponents of the Australian surrogacy legislation express shock that such a charity would help citizens circumvent a law meant to protect women from the exploitative nature of commercial surrogacy. 

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Ethics of Surrogacy During COVID-19 Pandemic

Cathy Sakimura and Emily Galpern | Men Having Babies Blog | April 29, 2021

Men Having Babies posted this ethical approach to surrogacy during COVID, by Surrogacy360’s own Emily Galpern and National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Cathy Sakimura. This approach strives to minimize the effects of gender, economic, global, and racial inequities that impact the bargaining power of people acting as surrogate or egg donors; to ensure that surrogates’ basic rights and ability to achieve a just contract are respected; and recognizes the rights of people born through surrogacy to legal security and knowledge about their origins. Intended parents must also not be discriminated against due to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.

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State Has Acted to Ensure Couple Can Return From Ukraine with Newborn, Judge Says

Aodhan O’Faolain | Irish Times | April 16, 2021

An Irish couple who traveled to Ukraine to welcome their surrogacy-born son, were not going to be allowed to return home. New travel bans were enacted while they were away, requiring travelers from certain countries to pre-book a quarantine hotel. The couple challenged the government’s failure to ensure their return to Ireland as a breach of their constitutional rights and endangerment of their newborn’s health. High Court Judge Brian O’Moore announced the State would pass regulations to allow the family to return to Ukraine without having to quarantine.

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Parents Are Demanding Surrogates Who Won’t Get the COVID Vaccine

Carter Sherman | Vice | March 9, 2021

Many intended parents are asking agencies to match them with surrogates who agree not to get a COVID vaccine, despite the fact that contracting COVID during pregnancy could increase the risk of severity of the illness and also lead to pre-term birth. The article discusses the importance of communicating about the vaccine prior to entering into a contract, and raises the issue of the power differential between intended parents’ requirements in a contract and a surrogate’s ability to maintain bodily autonomy.

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Lack of Regulation and COVID-19 Leaves Ukrainian Surrogate Mothers and Babies in Limbo

Kate Baklitskaya, Magalena Chodownik | New Easter Europe | December 24, 2020

This article is a comprehensive piece detailing how surrogacy practices in the already unregulated Ukraine have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The difficulties in protecting the rights of both Ukrainian surrogates and children are highlighted, along with the illegal practice of moving surrogates across the Polish border to arrange childbirth inside the EU. Human rights activists in Ukraine and Poland are calling for regulation of the surrogacy industry in both countries.

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Fertility Industry Growth Expected Despite COVID-19 Headwinds

Bianca Facchinei | Newsy | November 27, 2020

This Newsy video highlights the likelihood that the international surrogacy industry will continue to grow despite barriers that have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. Fertility clinics have been caring for babies stranded from parents, costs have risen, and parents face barriers obtaining necessary passports and visas. Surrogacy360’s own Emily Galpern weighs in on the matter as a featured expert; she cautions against entering into international surrogacy arrangements amidst the pandemic and observes that the current situation reflects concerns that existed prior to the pandemic.

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Stranded Babies, Sobbing Parents: Pandemic Splits Surrogates From Families

The Japan Times | September 22, 2020

This article expands on the stories of children born through surrogacy who are stranded in Eastern European countries and discusses the revival of the Chinese black market in the face of COVID travel restrictions. Additionally, police in Russia and Ukraine are raiding “baby dens” amidst fears of human trafficking. The article also highlights the stark contrast in the cost of surrogacy: Ukraine and Georgia 35-50K; Russia 73K, and California 200K.

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Chinese Infants Born to Chicago-Area Surrogates Are Stranded in the U.S. Without Their Parents, Due to COVID-19: ‘I Am Missing This Kid Every Minute.’

By Nara Schoenberg | Chicago Tribune | July 22, 2020

Vicky Li, a former employee at a Chicago based surrogacy agency, and her husband, Jerry Wu, have volunteered to care for two children born to surrogates until the parents can fly to the US from China. Hundreds of intended parents from other countries have not been able to come to the US to pick up their children born to surrogates, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. According to the article, the babies are being cared for by an impromptu collection of surrogates, agency employees, baby nurses, family friends and relatives.

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Surrogacy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 By Marla Neufeld | Lexology | June 25, 2020

With worldwide travel restrictions, closed courthouses, and limited governmental staff at critical offices, attorney Marla Neufeld updates recommendations regarding surrogacy arrangements in the US in the face of COVID-19. These include re-evaluating surrogacy agreements, determining whether health insurance policies for surrogates will cover COVID-19 treatments, and setting up contingency plans when unable to reach the US or return home.

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The Stranded Babies of Kyiv and the Women who Give Birth for Money

By Oksana Grytsenko | The Guardian | June 15, 2020

This article exposes the scale and problematic nature of the surrogacy industry in Ukraine, with the COVID crisis exacerbating conditions even more. The ombudsman for children is now calling for a ban on commercial surrogacy in Ukraine for foreign couples. Without sufficient regulation and protections in place, surrogates in Ukraine are beginning to self-organize on social media, where they share advice and warnings about agencies, and expose increased mistreatment during the pandemic.

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