COVID-19 Information for Intended Parents, Surrogates, Donors, 3rd Party Matching Programs
Between travel bans, quarantines, and other public health advisories, the spread of COVID-19 across the U.S. and around the world is likely to cause many disruptions for those involved in third-party assisted reproduction. For many intended parents, surrogates, egg donors, and agencies, there are many questions regarding how assisted reproduction should be approached during the COVID-19 outbreak. In this recommendation guide from International Fertility Law Group, intended parents have access to everything they need to know to navigate the current situation.
As the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreads around the world and throughout the U.S., our professional community and policymakers, intended parents, donors, surrogates, third-party ART agencies, and the public in general are seeking advice regarding how those who are undergoing or planning infertility treatment should proceed in light of COVID-19-related travel bans and other public health advisories.
Undertaking assisted reproductive technology is inherently stressful and emotionally challenging, requiring extensive planning, medical screenings and significant expenditure of time and money. For surrogates, donors and intended parents alike, the pandemic adds another element of uncertainty and concern—at one of the most critically important moments of their lives. Because clear, accurate and timely information is one of the best tools to help protect ourselves and our clients, we are writing to share the best information we have available at this time.
Currently, very little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy. For information about the virus, symptoms, treatment and impact on assisted reproduction and pregnancy, consult your doctors and IVF physicians, or check the American Society for Reproductive Medicine website HERE.
You may also want to check the travel guidance provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) daily, as it is anticipated to change frequently. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html)
Everyone is encouraged to also comply with instructions from state and local health departments and to stay abreast of the latest guidelines and updates issued by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) websites regarding evolving developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional information is available at:
COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine periods could prevent INTENDED PARENTS using a gestational carrier from joining their newborn in a timely manner. Consequently, we strongly encourage all intended parents and the legal professionals, organizations, and programs that facilitate these arrangements to promptly take the necessary steps to identify families that may be so affected and develop contingencies.
Those same travel and quarantine restrictions may cause delays in scheduled medical screening and medical procedures for SURROGATES AND DONORS.
Some travel bans issued by the federal, state and local governments may allow exceptions for those with immediate family in the impacted area to travel. Likewise, the U.S. Presidential Executive Order (updated on 11 March 2020) states that the travel ban shall NOT apply to any non-resident alien who is the parent or legal guardian or sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Therefore, IFLG will be happy to draft a letter for our clients explaining the need for such travel, such as intended parents who need to travel to be present for the birth of their child. However, keep in mind that such letters do not guarantee the ability to travel, as executive orders and other government orders in this situation may be subject to change without notice.
Intended parents may also wish to consider traveling sooner if this is feasible
Contingency plans for intended parents should also include establishing temporary, standby or backup guardians and/or healthcare powers of attorney designating another responsible adult to care for their child/children at birth if intended parents are infected or restricted from travel. Intended parents are strongly encouraged to confirm with their designated backup guardians that they are ready, willing and available (and not also affected by any such travel bans). If Intended parents have not executed such documents, or if such documents have been executed but need to be updated for any reason (including the unavailability of the originally selected backup person(s), please contact IFLG to discuss engaging us for this service.
Protect Yourselves and Others
In the meantime, do your part to help. Please seek medical advice on what you can do to protect yourself and others and to prevent the spread of the virus. Below is some basic information from the CDC.gov website, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
For those who have become infected with this new coronavirus, symptoms have ranged from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms of infection include fever, cough and trouble breathing. The virus has caused severe disease and death in patients who developed pneumonia. Risk factors for severe illness are not yet clear, although older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness.
CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel.
If you must travel:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- Avoid traveling if you are sick.
If you spent time in a COVID-19 HIGH RISK AREA during the past 14 days:
- Stay home for 14 days from the time you return, monitor your health, and practice social distancing. Social distancing means staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.
- If you get sick with fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing:
- Seek medical advice. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
- Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Do not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
For additional information, please see:
- Coronavirus Disease 2019
- Information for Healthcare Professionals
- WHO, Coronavirus
- China Travel Ban Information
- Europe Travel Ban Information