Tree of Life Center / Surrogacy Baby Birth and Coronavirus Pandemic imposing travel restrictions

We would like to share our experience regarding the birth of surrogacy babies during the Covid-19 Pandemic. We have seen the images of stranded babies that resulted from surrogacy in the Ukraine proviking anxiety and sadness. The international parents are not able to pick up those babies and bring them home. The travel restrictions in place limit the entry and travel. Our Tree of Life Fertility Clinic as well as our associated Pacific Surrogacy and Egg Donation provide third-party services to parents around the world. We had four births occur since the Coronavirus travel ban and have the experience to advise parents regarding the situation. The most frustrating thing is, that parents were unable to find any recommendations on this matter. The anxiety and despair was immense, but we managed to reunite all babies with a prospective parents so far.

Three of the four couples where from Germany and one couple was from India. The couple from India managed to enter the United States before the travel restriction took place for the southeastern Asian region. This parent is currently having difficulty returning back with a baby to India, since there are no commercial flights. The parent is planning to organize a private charter flight from California to India pending government approval.

The other three parents are from Germany and fall under the Schengen Area Travel Restriction. It is important to point out that the Trump proclamation, once reading the details allows for individuals taking care of the US citizen minor to enter the United States. This is regardless if this individual is a permanent resident or citizen. This is particularly listed in point (iii) of the travel restriction exemption:

(iii) any alien who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;

Our first parent managed to come to the United States before the proclamation took effect and spent 5 weeks waiting for the birth of the baby. This parent was able to attend the birth in person. The second parent retained legal council by a specialized immigration attorney in the SF Bay Area, that unfortunately could not provide any binding answers or further clarification. This attorney recommended the parent to seek assistance from the US consular mission in Germany and obtain permission to enter the United States in advance. That however would have been an ordeal of several weeks and would delay the pickup of the baby. From the practical standpoint, it was not even necessary. We have advised the parent to take the original California judgment that establishes the parental rights (also known as a pre-birth judgment) and the above noted declaration.

Since the concern, that the exception applies only after the baby is born, our surrogacy agency has agreed to take care of the baby for two days before the parents fly in. This allowed to obtain documentation from the hospital documenting the child's birth. The parent flew from Frankfurt to Washington DC. They were questioned by an american representative at the airport regarding their purpose of travel and after providing the pre-birth judgment and the documentation regarding the birth of the baby, they were able to board the plane to the US. There were no particular problems passing the US immigration. The parents were able to take custody of the baby on the third day after its birth.

Another parent traveling from Berlin, Germany took the KLM flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles. He took the flight one day before birth. When questioned by the US representative in Amsterdam if the baby was born, he stated that the baby was already born. This was not consistent with the fact that the baby was supposed to be born the following day. However no documentation was requested proving that the baby was in fact born. He showed the parental judgment and the original surrogacy contract and this was sufficient for him to board the airplane. When he arrived to the United States the immigration office reviewed the judgment and allowed entry into the United States without bringing up the question if the baby was already born or not. While the birth was scheduled for the following day, legally speaking, he did not meet the criteria of the proclamation exception. He still managed to arrive one day prior to the the scheduled cesarean delivery. He was however not able to attend the delivery due to his 14 day quarantine requirement. While he was not able to enter the hospital, he could meet with his gestational carrier before her delivery and see her pregnant immediately before the surrogacy baby. 

We would like to provide this information and share it with any other intended parent anxious to pick up their surrogacy baby in the United States. The United States, unlike some other countries have a clear exception to the travel ban. The parents fulfilled exception and have the right to enter the United States and pick up their baby. The fact that the baby acquires the United States citizenship is an important benefit, not only for the future but also in regards to the parental right during the pandemic. The legal judgement by a US court also provides a basis for recognition in many other countries where the parents live. While we understand that the surrogacy is 

We hope that the restrictions will be lifted soon and we can be able to resume our normal operation. Meanwhile please stay safe and we're here to help you and assist you during this unprecedented times.


Warm regards,
Dr. Jovanovic