European LGBTQI singles and couples who are accessing medical fertility treatments or are conducting surrogacy journeys abroad are becoming separated as borders close around the world.
The Network of European LGBTIQ+ Families Associations (NELFA) has received cries for help from separated LGBTQI families in cross-border situations as the COVID-19 Pandemic shuts down the world.
Every nation across the globe is currently experiencing some form of lockdown, including severe travel bans and national curfews.
It is these restrictions that are leaving these ‘rainbow families’ stranded in foreign countries or separated from their partners, their surrogates, and even their children.
An active volunteer of NELFA described heart-wrenching situations in which LGBTQI couples will miss the birth of their child, or are even separated from one another in the process of trying to provide support to surrogates in the lead-up to the birth of their child.
“There are dozens of LGBTIQ* 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,” they said in a statement.
“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 a within 72 hours.”
The NELFA volunteer also gave personal stories from individuals who were feeling the familial-strains of the COVID-19 Pandemic as the world quickly becomes bordered up.
The names have been edited to protect the identities of the couples, surrogates and children.
“S. and G. are a French gay couple and new dads of an adorable baby born on March 15 in the US. They are struggling to get all the documents needed, and they are stuck in the US without being able to come back to France,” they said.
“P. is a Frenchman as well. His husband caught a last-minute flight to go to San Francisco a few days ago just before the ban. His husband is safely in the US close to the woman who will give birth soon. P. is desperate not to be there.
“T. lives with his husband in France, too. This gay couple expect a delivery through surrogacy in the US next month. They tried to catch a plane two days ago, but their ESTA has been cancelled. The American embassy doesn’t answer anymore. They are highly anxious for their daughter and not to be there at birth.”
NELFA argues that prolonging these reunifications is not in the best interests of the children involved, and is calling on responsible ministries and administrations to support these rainbow families and to make sure that parents and children can be together and come back safely.