IVF Legal Limbo and its Effects

Its Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and his words to inspire people to always fight for what’s right cannot ring more true than for innocent IVF children and families in 2015. Is it time to have equal rights for IVF children and families? Imagine coming to the US as an immigrant, you work hard, pay taxes but you love a person who happens to be infertile and is intersex. Love knows no Martin-Luther-King-Do-Whats-Right-IVF-Limboboundaries but LAWS discriminate against IVF, infertile and intersex families, so who wins – LOVE, LAWS, LIES or innocent IVF siblings?  Welcome to an American life of an intersex, immigrant, IVF family – respect and equality and above all sparing innocent children and siblings. It’s not just about the material comforts but its about truth and justice – something an American dream promises?

You live together, you eat together, you sleep together, you may have even expressed your love for each other publicly and pray no hate crimes occur just for being you, but one is constantly living in legal limbo as an intersex, immigrant, IVF family. Movement outside the US is restricted. Freedom is lost. Depending on situation, one has to hide their identity of being in a same-sex marriage because before 2013, its illegal. For most, its a non-issue but for the ones living through it is a constant legal limbo. And why does one have to lie simply for loving someone?

There is another kind of legal limbo. The legal limbo of being born an international IVF/surrogacy child. If you are born on US soil, you are automatically a US citizen but if your parents brought you into this world by using their genetic material and with help of an International donor and/or surrogate, some cases are wrought with legal limbo for the innocent IVF child, whats their fault? For example, if you have a DNA mismatch, where the genetic material, sperm or egg is accidentally mixed in the IVF clinic abroad, the IVF child would have no “genetic link” with the US citizen parent as required by laws and thus as per Immigration laws cannot enter the country and is in legal limbo. Had the same child been born on US shores exactly same way, there would be no issues. Or if a mother uses donor egg and sperm and uses her own womb to give birth to IVF child, since she has no “genetic link” as defined by laws, the innocent IVF child is in legal limbo. Had the same child been born on US shores exactly same way, there would be no issues. There are several such circumstances which can place an innocent IVF child in legal limbo, some accidentally while others deliberately. As an aggrieved victim, your movement is restricted. Your freedom is lost.

Just like every technology, it can be used for good or bad, just like every other crime, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin it for all – more importantly, the necessity for having laws to provide checks and balance.

When someone abandons an international IVF/surrogacy child knowingly and leaving the innocent child in legal limbo, who protects their rights? Do they have any rights?

When an international IVF/surrogacy child is abandoned during a divorce, what are their rights? If same child was born on shore during a divorce, would they have different rights as child of “marriage”? More importantly, has the best interest of the child been maintained?

Infertility has existed since time immemorial. People have tried different ways to help others to solve infertility. Adoption is most common and there are very stringent and well-thought laws for adoption – both domestically and internationally. IVF/Surrogacy is relatively new, more importantly, laws are lacking and haven’t caught up with technology leaving innocent children in legal limbo. What checks and balance are democracies providing for best interest of IVF/international children?

5 or 10 or 20 years from now or whenever international laws are in place for IVF/surrogacy children, helping infertility may not be a crime (like it is today in some cases) but abandoning innocent children will still be a crime. Perhaps due to the laws then, innocent children may not even be in legal limbo but what is being done today to help the affected? Who is protecting rights of innocent children? Who is helping innocent IVF siblings to be united who are deliberately split between two continents? When will justice arrive?

In the here and now, it is painfully obvious that helping infertility where laws itself fall short is wrong but to have injustice inflicted on innocent, voiceless children is something one never imagined even in their worst nightmares. Some of the issues are getting resolved for international IVF children and families. When will an international IVF family of an IVF father and his IVF children get justice?

We need a system of inclusiveness, rights of both fertile and infertile are protected but children must come first. Perhaps if equal rights existed for infertile, they may not feel threatened to abandon a child just to get custody of their sibling because they must have a child at any and all costs. Perhaps if deterrents existed to hold fertile and infertile intended parents equally responsible and accountable for the welfare of a child, a maligned adult may not be able to abandon a child and leave them in legal limbo without any consequences. Most importantly, an innocent, voiceless IVF child best interest would be protected and justice be served.

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