Below are 10 claims justifying separating innocent IVF brother and sister, followed by the facts that the assertions ignore or distort. The irony is that by denying facts, we are denying justice and more importantly not willing to change the laws which means only more innocent victims. When will we wake up and accept the facts and deliver justice? If a mother tries to unite her children, does a father have the same rights to unite his children? More importantly, what do the siblings want – is it about their lives or others lives?
Claim 1 : There is only one child of the marriage.
Fact : When the divorce was filed in the US, the second IVF sibling was on the way and 6 months term in a surrogate’s womb with every intention of having both siblings grow up together. Why was the IVF pregnancy deliberately NOT declared in the divorce petition? Was abandoning the second IVF child pre-meditated? The divorce was filed in July 2009, the second child was born in September 2009, the divorce was granted in May 2010. How is there ONLY ONE child of the marriage? If the siblings were united and no child was abandoned, there would be no discussions or issues. Are we denying rights to innocent IVF children by making them legally invisible? Is this a repeat of baby scoop era simply because IVF fathers, families, children are not yet “socially acceptable”?
Claim 2 : The IVF children born in a marriage have equal rights
Fact: As per prevailing US laws, IVF children born to IVF fathers like Maulik using an anonymous donor and surrogate are considered “child born out of wedlock”. Its confusing, is there a “marriage” or not?
Claim 3 : IVF children and families have equal rights and are not discriminated
Fact : This is only an issue because an innocent child is being alienated from his siblings and family. Plus, the US laws have been heartlessly enforced on other IVF families to separate loving families. US law requires a “genetic link” between a US parent and a child born outside the US, the right answer is to fix the law and NOT alienate innocent IVF siblings. When a DNA mismatch occurs, why can’t the innocent IVF child still be allowed to grow with the intended parents if they do not mind? Is parenting based on love and character or biology and gender?
Claim 4 : I am the mother suggesting also the primary caregiver.
Fact : Being a mother and primary caregiver are two separate things. How does a person recovering from multiple severely traumatic surgeries and medical treatments who has taken leave from work due to physical ailments ALSO be a primary caregiver for an infant? One of the surgeries is so severe has been called for a STOP by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – what are the effects of this torturous treatment to the patient, spouse and children around them? There is sympathy and compassion and maybe someone else took the position of “primary caregiver” – maybe the other adult in the family – Maulik, the biological IVF father? In an IVF family where a child is born using an anonymous egg donor and surrogate and the father is the primary caregiver during the tender years of the IVF child, who is the “stereotypical mother”? More importantly, what are the feelings of the innocent child who has bonded with the father based on facts and not stereotypes?
Claim 5 : I love the child.
Fact : No one doubts that. But do you love yourself more? Do others love the child LESS? One cannot abandon a sibling to get custody of her brother. What will the brother and sister feel by denying them a childhood together? Do the innocent IVF children have basic human dignity and respect or are they property to be trafficked and abandoned and placed in legal limbo with no regard for their humanity? Denying facts is denying justice. There are still people in this world who deny the Nazi holocaust, is that justice for the millions of victims and survivors?
Claim 6 : This marriage is legal.
Fact : This is an intersex marriage. Any laws are based on a simple fact – that it should be repeatable. Can other intersex people ALSO legally marry in India, immigrate to the US as a derivative spouse of a marriage and get US citizenship as per prevailing laws? The right answer is to accept the facts, change the laws for all intersex families instead of creating victims out of people who tried to give human rights to people where government itself felt short. Are human rights of such people protected? Or is the message to NOT help intersex people?
Claim 7 : The son deserves to be with his [biological] father.
Fact : This is what the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in 2009 about a son, Sean Goldman, in Brazil being united with his father in the US. Sean was living with his biological maternal grandparents and step-father, were they not giving him food, shelter, education, opportunity for growth or was he being abused – the “standard” gauges used by courts? The rights answer is do the right thing. Why is Vedant being alienated from his father, his primary caregiver, his sister, his extended biological family?
Claim 8 : Intersex people have equal rights, IVF families have equal rights.
Fact : Intersex people cannot legally marry, cannot have children genetically. US laws require a “genetic link” between US parent and child born outside the US. Then how does an intersex person legally get a child to the US? Abandoning a sister to get her brother is not the right answer. Breaking the laws for one person while others are still being victimized is not the right answer.
Claim 9 : IVF fathers are NOT discriminated, more importantly, his IVF children are not discriminated.
Fact : The IVF son is in the US on an Indian passport. If he is a US citizen because his father is a US citizen then given the same logic, his sister in India is also a US citizen. Why is she being DENIED a US passport? More importantly because both IVF siblings are land-locked on two separate continents, they have NEVER met. Where is the humanity, the logic to punish innocent victims for crimes they did not commit? You can fool them now as they are voiceless and too young but once they grow up, what answer will you give them – love? Truth and facts go a lot farther. Changing laws to fit the needs of the 21st century is the right answer, SPLITTING innocent siblings is not. In January 2014, Secretary Kerry issued a policy where IVF mothers who have no genetic link but gave birth to IVF children would be considered “at par” as mothers for passing US citizenship rights to IVF children. This is after years of showing rigidity. It was also made retroactive, a rare occurrence. Why not something similar for immigrant IVF father and his IVF children if not for his sake then at least for his innocent IVF children’s sake?
Claim 10: IVF family rights are isolated and rare
Fact : White, black, Asian, others, single, straight, gay, intersex fathers are ALL affected by the lack of IVF laws if they attempt to have a child through IVF. There can be a DNA mismatch, they may be immigrants, and so on. Worse, the gender of a “biological father” is being inadvertently used to punish his IVF children – why? This problem will need to be solved in the 21st century – the sooner, the lesser innocent victims, the lesser lost childhoods.
We are confident that in the future there will be equal LGBTI rights, there will be equal IVF children and family rights. But abandoning an IVF child will still remain a crime, it will still remain a crime against the humanity of the innocent IVF child. If we have laws to protect innocent children from pedophiles, why are there no laws to protect children from IVFphiles? Moving forward with truth is the only way forward.