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US couple 'trapped' in Mexico following surrogacy law change

11 May 2015
Appeared in BioNews 801

A US couple have been left without a birth certificate for their newborn son in Mexico after a sudden change in state law.

Haseeb and Christy Amireh, from California, entered into a surrogacy arrangement in the Mexican state of Tabasco, where the practice is more affordable and legislation is in place to permit and regulate surrogacy. However, the couple has said they are unable to obtain a birth certificate for their son, Grayson, who was born last month, and that without one the child cannot obtain a passport to fly home to the USA.

ABC and CBS News have reported that the Tabasco state governor has halted the issuance of all birth certificates for families using surrogacy - although there has been no comment from the governor's office in Tabasco, says ABC.

Stephanie Caballero, from the Surrogacy Law Center in southern California, told CBS News she wasn't surprised by the situation. She explained: 'Mexico does not have the systems in place [like the US does]. If they say their law is a law, it may or may not be the law.' According to Mr Amireh, there are still surrogacy agencies accepting new applications from couples like them and therefore the couple has gone public 'to get the word out'.

The Tabasco state law on surrogacy was enacted by a former state governor and allows for the intending mother to become the legal parent in cases where the surrogate, or the 'substitute mother', is not the biological mother. The Daily Mail points out that 'the Amirehs did not specify in the interview whether their son was born through traditional surrogacy [where the surrogate uses her own eggs] or gestational surrogacy [where eggs from the intended mother or a donor are used]'.

The couple is working with a lawyer in Mexico and has been in contact with the US State Department. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren told ABC News: 'We are working directly with senior administration officials to ask that the State Department do everything possible under the law to resolve their application as soon as possible.

'I will continue to monitor the situation closely, and work with the administration to make sure the family has the information needed to establish both their biological relationship to, and legal custody of their son.'

Mrs Amireh told CBS News, 'We just want to get home'.

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