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Surrogate babies stuck in the U.S. for weeks due to COVID-19 pandemic

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TUCSON - (KVOA)- The coronavirus pandemic is adding challenges for parents living in other countries trying to unite with their babies born in the United States by a surrogate.

Parham Zar, the managing director of Egg Donor and Surrogacy Institute, said that so far during the COVID-19 pandemic about 25 surrogates have not had the intended families there during birth.

"Unfortunately because of COVID, they either have not been able to travel to the United States or they have not been able to either get their passports renewed or get their visa or be allowed entry into the country," he said.

Zar said 70 to 80 percent of EDSI's intended parents are from outside the country and it takes about a month and a half to two months after the birth of their baby for them to come to the United States.

Heather Regan, a first-time surrogate, said she delivered a baby in June during the peak of the pandemic, which meant not only did she have to deliver with a mask on and complete COVID-19 testing, but the intended parents weren't able to be there for the birth. She said the intended parents were united with their baby six weeks after birth.

"His parents, unfortunately, were not allowed to come out for the birth, which is the whole reason I wanted to be a surrogate was so they could be there when I had the baby," she said.

Zar said that the agency is helping to make arrangements until the parents can come into the country.

"We have apartments with two or three bedrooms and we put cameras everywhere and the nannies will take care of the children," Zar said. "The parents are able to observe 24/7 their babies, see how they are cared for and they are also in constant communication with us and with the nannies."

Zar said that by far California has the best medical infertility technology so the success rate for the intended parents is much higher in southern California than anywhere else and the surrogacy laws are more favorable to the intended parents.

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Priscilla Casper

Priscilla Casper is an anchor and multi-skilled journalist for News 4 Tucson. She anchors weekdays at noon and 5 p.m.

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