COVID-19 Vaccination for Pregnant People to Prevent Serious Illness, Deaths, and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes from COVID-19
As we all know, COVID has had global impacts which have not spared the surrogacy industry. The decision on whether one should receive a COVID vaccine is personal and everyone has different options on their comfort level with receiving the COVID 19 vaccine. Surrogacy agreements address numerous issues surrounding COVID and the impacts on the surrogacy process such as following doctor guideline on COVID safety precautions, possibly travel guidelines and also addressing the issue as to whether or not the surrogate agrees to get vaccinated for COVID or receive a COVID booster if medically recommended by the fertility clinic or later OB. Once the vaccine initially rolled out, it was a mixed bag on surrogates would would agree to receive the vaccine and a similar mixed bag on intended parents who wanted their surrogates to get vaccinated. Whatever the expressed intent of the parties was, it would be codified in the surrogacy agreement. In addition to more mixed opinions on the COVID vaccine from the parties, fertility clinics were not uniform in their guidance on surrogates receiving the vaccine as each clinic and each doctor within clinics sometimes had different medical recommendations on the topic. On September 29, 2021, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a very strong recommendation for anyone pregnant or trying to get pregnant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Pursuant to the recent CDC vaccination guidelines, the "CDC strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks...Healthcare providers should strongly recommend that people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future receive one of the authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible." Per the CDC, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at an increased risk for severe illness, death and pregnancy complications hence the updated guideline from the CDC on strongly recommending a pregnant person or person trying to become pregnant to get vaccinated. It is incredibly important for anyone considering the surrogacy process, both intended parents and surrogates alike, to understand that following the CDC guidelines on vaccinations, many Florida and fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies, along with clinics/agencies across the nation are not allowing the parties to proceed with a surrogacy matter until the surrogate is fully vaccinated. This may create new challenges to the parties when one or both are not comfortable with receiving the COVID vaccine. Also, while your clinic or agency may not be requiring vaccinations at a particular time, the requirements for COVID are rapidly evolving and mandatory vaccinations may be required in the future so it's important to communication with the clinic and agency on such requirements.