Babies and Borders


The impacts of COVID-19 are numerous in number and severe in effect. But perhaps an unexpected consequence of the global lockdown is the difficulty which intended parents face when it comes to bringing their baby home. This applies equally between parents engaged in an adoption or surrogacy process. 

Both processes are extreme tests of your emotions, your relationships and your finances. The story below is an example of the issues intending parents are facing. As the Head of Immigration, I have seen a noticeable spike in queries from parents who are concerned about how best they can bring in their soon-to-be-born child. 

The issue in the age of COVID-19 is not so much the law but rather the practicalities of actually securing passports or visas for new-born children. With visa centres closed across the world and embassies restricting access to passport services, many a person is finding themselves stranded abroad. When you throw in a new-born baby, born abroad as part of a surrogacy arrangement, then the matter becomes even more complicated. That new-born baby will not be 'in the system' from an immigration point of view and so issuing an Emergency Travel Document is not a natural solution. This is placing families in the impossible situation of having to fund certified nannies  - an essential expense in the current climate but one that could not have been predicted. 

These issues have already been raised with the Home Office and we hope to be in a position to update clients and others on what can be done in this difficult situation very soon.  

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A week before Sierra Martin’s 27 February due date, she received an email. It was from the couple that Martin was carrying a baby for, as a gestational surrogate. This was Martin’s first surrogacy; she was carrying a boy for a gay couple from China. Due to the coronavirus travel ban, the email read, the couple wouldn’t be able to get into the US to collect their son. Would Martin look after him, until the restrictions were lifted?
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