Coronavirus travel ban is having a worrying impact on queer parents expecting children via surrogacy
The coronavirus pandemic is having a dramatic affect on LGBT+ parents who are expecting children via surrogacy, according to an open letter from the Network of European LGBTIQ Families Associations (NELFA).
NELFA aims to raise awareness of LGBT+ families within the EU, and to ensure that LGBT+ families have the same rights in EU countries as families led by opposite-sex parents.
The letter read: “The coronavirus pandemic affects us all, more than ever expected at the beginning when the first cases were reported from China.
“In the meantime, we all face some sort of lockdown: serious administrative measures, travel bans, curfews, school closings et cetera.
“We are all extremely vulnerable, but some of us struggle with additional problems.”
It said the current restrictions are causing problems for LGBT+ families in “cross-border situations”, for example international surrogacy arrangements and fertility treatments abroad.
NELFA said that one of its volunteers had reported multiple instances of queer families who have been trapped “far away from the woman who carries their child”.
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One French gay couple, and the new dads of a baby born this month, were stuck in the US, struggling to access documents they need to be able to return home.
Another French man, identified as “P”, was unable to travel to his surrogate in San Francisco. His husband caught a last minute flight out, just before the travel ban, and their surrogate is due to give birth soon. According to the volunteer, P is “desperate” to be there for the birth of his child.
One couple living in France are expecting a baby girl in America next month, but their ESTA has been cancelled and the American embassy will not answer their calls, leaving them panicked that they won’t be there for the birth of their daughter.
The NELFA volunteer added: “There are dozens of LGBT+ parents facing similar problems. Some of them are stuck in Europe with deliveries in the USA, Canada or Mexico. They are highly stressed and don’t know what to do as they are far away from the woman who carries their child.”
Some parents are already abroad with their babies and struggle to get the official documents to come back to Europe. The American government suspended all passport offers except for customers with a qualified life-or-death emergency and who need one within 72 hours.”
The organisation said it was calling “on responsible ministries and administrations to support these families and to make sure that parents and children can be together and come back safely”.