International IVF/Surrogacy and The Quest for Basic Human Dignity and Respect

Let there be no doubt – we are extremely grateful to the Indian and US governments, the officials, and all the people who signed the petition and gave AskObamaModi-IVFsupport and some went beyond and above to support (you know who you are) in order to take the first steps to UNITE innocent IVF/Surrogacy children – siblings. They are innocent and they are children – they are voiceless and they deserve basic human dignity and respect. This should have NEVER happened in the first place and should NEVER happen again.  Infertility is often dealt with secrecy and lies meaning very few stories come out – does that mean the best interest of the child has been maintained? By stating the truth and petitioning the democratically elected officials for change in the best interest of the child is the right answer. If its a crime to discriminate based on race, gender, religion, birth place, gender orientation, etc, it should also be a crime to discriminate based on birth type – IVF/Surrogacy or natural. For one IVF parent, this is a lifelong fight – first for innocent IVF children and there are miles to go before one sleeps. It is one thing when the laws are playing “catch up” with technology but it is another for someone to use the loopholes to deny basic human dignity and respect to innocent, voiceless IVF/Surrogacy children. At the end of the day, this is about FREEDOM. We GAVE the world where laws itself fall short in an intersex marriage, intersex immigration, infertility, IVF and our WORLD has been taken away from us. Why is the burden of giving equal rights for an intersex, infertile, immigrant be placed on an IVF father and his children, shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the governments and laws? An IVF father and his IVF children are human beings too with equal rights and deserve justice too, right? We are fighting against TIME and its time to change mindsets because its hurting innocent children.

We ensure the coffee we purchase from abroad is “worker rights” approved, we ensure the clothes we purchase from abroad is “child rights” approved but abandoning an IVF/Surrogacy child abroad has NO rights? A living breathing, human being who came into this world with consent of an American. This is NOT the America I know. We have baby changing stations in public places, we have special signages for kids in public places, people stop when kids cross the road even if they are breaking the laws but NO justice for an abandoned IVF/Surrogacy child abroad? This is NOT the America I know. We can do better, we must do better for the international IVF/Surrogacy children who are human beings too and are just as valuable and equal as any other child who deserve equal rights AND justice.

Question posted on #MannKiBaat held on January 27, 2015 : Honourable Modiji and Obamaji, in the 21st century, when will we get equal rights for #‎IVF‬ children and families? As Gandhiji said, someone you both admire and respect, what can you as global world leaders do to help to become the change you want to see in this world? #‎ChildRights‬‪ #‎HumanRights‬

Become the change you want to see in this world” – Mahatma Gandhi

This was an inspiration 15 years ago when unknowingly we embarked on a journey of intersex, immigrant, IVF rights and still continues to inspire today as we seek equal rights and respect for all. Let us see some use cases of international IVF/Surrogacy and its effects. Its important to note this is not the norm and  each are unique in their own way and in the end each case was dealt separately in the best interest of the child because EVERY LIFE counts.

  • Case 1) A US Citizen single mother had used donor sperm and donor egg to have children through IVF. She is a dual citizen and carried the IVF twins to term and gave birth to them outside the US but when she approached the US Government, her innocent IVF twins were DENIED US Citizenship because as per US Immigration laws she did not have a “genetic link” rendering the innocent children “stateless”. After 4.5 years of petitioning, the US government changed its laws AND made it retroactive to allow her children to get US Citizenship. Its the right way forward and kudos to the US to show leadership in this infant arena (no pun intended).
  • Case 2) A Canadian couple used an anonymous egg donor and surrogate in India using the husband’s sperm and had twins through IVF/Surrogacy in India but sadly one of the twins had no “genetic link” with the Canadian husband and due to prevailing Canadian Immigration laws, one of the IVF siblings could not leave India and became “stateless”. The couple took the BOLD step to moving lock, stock and barrel from Canada to India AND NEVER thought of abandoning or splitting the siblings and for 6 years continued to fight and petition their government eventually the government softening its stance to allow the “non-genetic” IVF child to immigrate to Canada. Its the right way forward and kudos to Canada to show leadership in this infant arena (no pun intended).
  • Case 3) An Australian couple used an anonymous egg donor and surrogate in Thailand using the husband’s sperm and had twins through IVF/Surrogacy in Thailand but sadly one of the twins was born with Down’s Syndrome and the Australian couple split the siblings leaving behind one of the child while taking the other with them back to Australia. The left-behind IVF/Surrogacy child with Down’s syndrome is #babyGammy and in less than a year, the Australian government allowed #babyGammy and his surrogate to immigrate to Australia, gave them a home, car, money and an Australian citizenship with all its benefits and rights. Its the right way forward and kudos to Australia to show leadership in this infant arena (no pun intended).
  • Case 4) An Indian couple who were living in the US as immigrants already had one IVF/Surrogacy child and wanted to provide a sibling. The IVF father using his sperm, anonymous egg donor and surrogate in India has two lovely IVF/Surrogacy children born in India and while one is in the US, the other was abandoned and left-behind in India. While the IVF father can go anywhere, the innocent IVF/Surrogacy girl child in India is rendered “stateless” leaving the IVF father to make a “Sophie’s Choice” (Oscar nominated Meryl Streep movie from 1984) between his lovely IVF son in US OR his lovely IVF daughter in India? After 5.5 years of petitioning, the Indian and US governments worked together to allow a “legal identity” for the left-behind IVF/Surrogacy child. Its the right way forward and kudos to the Indian and US governments  to show leadership in this infant arena (no pun intended).

We look forward to UNITE innocent siblings and we want justice – which is basic human dignity and respect.

Analysis – Personal issue or laws catching up with technology issues? Is there a difference between IVF parent or IVF father and more importantly, what does the IVF child care about?

  • When the IVF children of the “dual citizen mother” in case 1 were given basic human dignity and respect, the IVF father asked for the same for his innocent children but was denied. The consequences are on the innocent IVF children and no parent wants their child to be punished for crimes they did not commit. Is it a crime to be born through IVF/Surrogacy? Or is it because the “legal parent” is a “male”? It is time to change mindsets because its hurting innocent children.
  • When the IVF child of the Canadian couple in case 2 was given basic human dignity and respect, the IVF father again asked for the same for his innocent children but was denied. Is it a crime to be born through IVF/Surrogacy? Or is it because the “legal parent” is a “male”? It is time to change mindsets because its hurting innocent children.
  • When #babyGammy in Case 3 was given Australian citizenship, rights, home, car, money, etc. and given basic human dignity and respect, the IVF father again asked for the same for his innocent children but was denied. Instead of providing rights to the child, the IVF father was asked to provide financial support (as required by laws), asked why he has been unemployed for last 5+ years outside the US (trying to save a left-behind girl child), etc. We don’t want the money, the home, the car, we just want justice and basic human dignity and respect. Why is a left-behind innocent IVF/Surrogacy girl child being discriminated based on her “legal parent’s” gender – a male? It is time to change mindsets because its hurting innocent children.

Having a “left-behind” male parent is rare but IVF/Surrogacy presents this situation. The question is what are the consequences and how do we MOVE FORWARD in the best interest of the child who has same needs as any other child – right to basic human dignity and respect.

This is NOT a “personal issue”, this is a child rights issue and a human rights issue and basic human dignity and respect for every human life. International IVF/Surrogacy presents some unique situations, are the laws there to protect the innocent both when the results are GOOD and BAD? Is there a check and balance? As we have seen, most IVF/Surrogacy parents (genetic or non-genetic) uphold their responsibility and accountability for the welfare of the child, what happens when they don’t? What happens when there are a few bad apples? What are the rights of the abandoned, left-behind IVF/Surrogacy child? Answers to these questions are NOT a “personal issue” but a multilateral approach by governments to make laws in the best interest of children while maintaining basic human dignity and respect for every life. In the 21st century, the laws need to get in sync with the ground realities before more innocent children are hurt.

Its time to be on the RIGHT side of HISTORY. In the future, intersex marriages will be legal and respected (like we did), infertility will be respected and legal (like we did), IVF/Surrogacy will be respected and legal (like we did), BUT ABANDONING a child (IVF or natural) is a crime today and will REMAIN A CRIME even when these other rights are bestowed. As an intersex, immigrant, IVF father and fighting for basic human dignity and respect, I have experienced abuse, offensive interactions (sometimes the other person/government not even realizing they are being offensive), discrimination, double standards, threats, intimidation, torture, etc. These have only made me stronger to fight for my innocent, voiceless children who are EQUALLY deserving of rights as a child. We did NOT get into this situation “accidentally”, we were deliberately placed here and we are ONLY beginning to DIG OUT. As a minority within a minority, we are HUMANS too, we have EQUAL RIGHTS too, or don’t we? We are fighting against TIME and its time to change mindsets because its hurting innocent children.

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