Surrogacy put on hold due to COVID-19 for the entire year of 2020 for safety of surrogates

The surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology world has significantly impacted by COVID-19 pandemic condition. Surrogacy is 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 of the 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.

covid 19 surrogacy health worker

Many surrogacy babies 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 to put on hold of surrogacy for 2020. Although planned surrogacy, where surrogates currently pregnant and expecting delivery soon are taken care of. 

The decision to put on hold the surrogacy is a proactive action taken by the reproductive medicine governing body to protect both newborn as well as surrogates. Although yet now no clinical evidence support coronavirus affect pregnancy, pregnant women have considered as a vulnerable population in the COVID-19 pandemic condition.

The entire assisted reproductive technology service providers work together to follow best practices to provide safeguards to the existing surrogates and newborn deal 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 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 is 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” 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 surrogacy agreement is also important, as some agreements intended parents need to pay a surrogate monthly basis to compensate 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 with 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. 

References:

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=a52d1c16-2398-402d-9400-572000c79d73

https://worldcrunch.com/coronavirus/adoption-ivf-surrogacy-covid-19-puts-new-lives-on-hold

 

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