The surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology world have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic condition. Surrogacy is the teamwork of agency, clinical service, legal service, and insurance providers. The whole surrogacy process requires proper planning and execution through the mutual effort of each department. Therefore, it cannot happen overnight. Conduction of surrogacy requires extra care along with extra planning which is not required before a coronavirus attack. Traveling is a big issue nowadays.
Many surrogacy babies are stuck in the surrogacy clinic because of the banning of international travel in many countries. In this condition, reproductive medicine governing bodies of different countries, including the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), issued guidelines for surrogacy for 2020. Although planned surrogacy, where surrogates currently pregnant and expecting delivery soon are taken care of.
The decision to put on hold surrogacy is a proactive action taken by the reproductive medicine governing body to protect both newborns as well as surrogates. Although yet now no clinical evidence suppsupportst coronavirus affects pregnancy, pregnant women have been considered a vulnerable population in the COVID-19 pandemic condition.
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The entire assisted reproductive technology service providers work together to follow best practices to provide safeguards to the existing surrogates and newborns dealing with this hard condition. For providing a safeguard to the surrogate following guidelines are currently followed in different countries:
Initiation of new surrogacy treatment has been suspended
Under this guideline, induction of ovulation, a new cycle of in vitro-fertilization (IVF), intrauterine inseminations (IUIs) are suspended along with egg retrievals, frozen embryo transfers, and non-urgent gamete cryopreservation are also put on hold in 2020.
Cessation of all embryo transfers
Both fresh and frozen embryo transfers are robustly canceled for this year.
Treatment continuation for already enrolled patients
reproductive technology service providers should continue treatment for patients who are “in-cycle” and require treatment for imperative stimulation and cryopreservation.
Postpone non-urgent diagnostic procedures and elective surgeries
To maintain the social distancing utilize telehealth where ever possible to minimize direct contact.
However, these restrictions bring much trouble to both intended parents and surrogates. Those who have planned new embryo transfer cycles this year need to consult with a reproductive doctor to fix further dates depending upon the applicable guidelines followed in that particular country.
In this aspect, the consideration of a surrogacy agreement is also important, as some agreements intended for parents need to pay a surrogate monthly basis to compensate for wages. But delay in a treatment plan can cause contractual obligations. Besides this, the continuation of treatment may increase the expected financial expense due to precautionary measures that need to take this COVID-19 pandemic condition.
However, intended parents in cooperation with their surrogacy team need to go for an extra millage to achieve success in this COVID-19 pandemic condition to fulfill their family building.
It is quite hectic for intended parents to travel to the location on time to attend the delivery and have the baby discharged in the event of travel bans or quarantine periods following any travel. Therefore, proper planning is important to deal with the situation.
Intended parents can appoint a power of attorney and/or a health care designee to take certain actions related to the birth such as making medical decisions for the baby and taking the baby home if intended parents are unable to make it in time to the delivery.
Surrogate and power of attorney should contact each other and exchange the necessary information for smooth coordination during the due dates. Intended parents may need to pay an extra payment to a surrogate to pump breast milk.
Appointed power of attorney also has to take some necessary decisions with a consultation with doctors and intended parents like storing cord blood, circumcision should be performed (in case of boy child), agree to life support in case of emergency, necessary shots given to the born child, etc.
Ravi Sharma is a self-motivated, successful entrepreneur and has a solid experience in the fertility segment. and he is the director at ARTbaby Global (ARThealthcare). He is a pharmacy graduate with post-graduation in business administration and has 14 years of rich experience in the field of infertility segment. He loves to write about IVF, Surrogacy, and other ART (assisted reproductive technology) news, issues, and updates. He is a Pharmacy graduate (B. Pharm) and M.B.A (marketing).
His most recent success includes the successful launch of the medical tourism company, ARTbaby, which offers treatment options for infertility, egg donation, and surrogacy. He likes spending time with his family and writing about various aspects of IVF surrogacy and donating eggs.