Tag Archives: Martin Luther King

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.

Be The Change You Wish To See In This World

Let us celebrate Mahatma and his teachings on this Gandhi Jayanti day. Like another great leader and a follower of Gandhiji, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, we have a dream that one day there will be equal rights for IVF children and families.gandhi-king-respect

IVF siblings are in legal limbo because we lied about intersex, IVF, and immigration. IVF siblings are in legal limbo because we tried to give rights to intersex and related issues in secrecy where government itself falls short. Intersex have been dealt with secrecy and lies in a failed approach and now repeat a similar strategy of secrecy and lies on IVF children and families and expect different results? How will it help the greater good?

When life gives you lemons, you can make lemonade. When life throws a curve ball, you can hit it out of the park or go out trying hard.  When someone makes you break laws, you can speak up for a better future especially for innocent children. Dealing with secrecy and lies helps no one. Education and awareness and empowering people with truth is far better. Dealing with issues like intersex, infertility (IVF), immigration in 2000s is a challenge for anyone let alone dealing with any one of these issues individually – to deal with all of them together and remaining invisible is creating innocent, unsuspecting victims. These are not separate issues, because in an intersex marriage, they also have to deal with infertility, and because they went for affordable IVF outside the US unlike mega-rich folks in the US, they also have to deal with immigration. The starting point is secrecy and lies with intersex and certainly the end will NOT be continued lies and breaking laws. Its a new dawn and we want equal rights for IVF children and families and intersex families. So, lets march ahead! Will you join us?

In 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture called for a STOP to unnecessary intersex surgeries. Yet we were made to go through it in 2002 during a marriage with no proper protocol, is it torture? What if we had been allowed to be open about it like a breast or testicular cancer, could we have got better help? Could the education and awareness have helped a greater good sooner?

The claim is that there is a risk of testicular cancer in intersex patients if they do not remove the testes. What is the risk profile? In IVF children due to the fertility treatments, hormones, the induced egg harvesting, the frozen samples, a study claims IVF children are a third more likely to have cancer, they are at 65% risk of having leukemia. If an IVF child needs a bone marrow to live and is forcibly separated from his biological family using fraud documents, who will save his life? What is in the best interest of the IVF child?

In 2013, a first of its kind legal case was filed in the US for unnecessary intersex surgery. The current protocol of misinformation, secrecy, lies, fraud medical records in dealing with intersex surgery during marriage in 2002 is a disservice to both and should be stopped immediately in its current form.

In 2013, people are still struggling to have insurance companies pay for these unnecessary intersex surgeries because they are being honest about it. What if they instead lie and lie on medical records and fraud the insurance company into paying for the surgery? How has lying helped the greater good?

In 2013, Germany will become the first country in the “western nations” to legally recognize intersex as the “third gender”. Earlier in 2011, Australia and New Zealand also allowed a legal recognition of “third gender” while several Asian countries have legally recognized the “third gender” for some time now. By having “legal recognition”, one can get legal rights and more importantly have issues addressed like intersex rights, infertility rights and immigration rights.

In 2013, US started allowing “same-sex” couples to legally sponsor their partner’s immigration and thus not breaking families or forcing them to live in exile or secrecy. What if someone lied and got their US Immigration before 2013 by hiding their “same-sex” condition – they got a personal benefit but how did it help others like them? Empower with truth like Edie Windsor or lie for individual benefit?

In 2013, US Citizens and residents still cannot bring an IVF child born outside the US with “no biological link”. Some people may have lied, created fraud records and got an IVF child illegally into the US by breaking the laws, they got an individual benefit, how did it help other infertile people or other immigrants or other intersex people? How did it help the IVF child by being in legal limbo? What does the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and/or Child Rights have to say on this?

In 2013, surrogate and intended mothers are fighting to get rights for maternity leave when the IVF child is born. What if someone lied and frauded the FMLA system in 2004 for an IVF child but did not disclose it? By lying, they got an individual benefit but how did it help the greater good and other intended and surrogate mothers? Does this mean that gay fathers or single fathers or fathers who are primary care providers for IVF children do not deserve leave when child is born? Or are we just ignoring them and pretend they do not exist?

There are people who are looking for insurance coverage today to help with their infertility which requires saying the truth. Since we lied about IVF and infertility, we could not avail of this and more importantly we could not join the voice of others asking for fertility rights. Ironically, it is the lack of fertility rights which is the cause for splitting the IVF siblings.  By staying silent we cannot help a greater good and it is important to speak up for oneself and others.

In 2013, what happens to IVF children who are born either due to an accident in the IVF clinic or a commissioning parent abandoned the IVF pregnancy and placing them in legal limbo and causing them to be stateless. What are the rights of such IVF children? Maybe we are asking too many questions too soon and should wait a few more years until we get a critical mass of “stateless IVF children” and left-behind parents. Punishing innocent, voiceless children that we “create” is not why we brought them into this world, right?

We are sympathetic to an intersex, infertile, immigrant – let our actions speak louder than words who were sent as canaries in the coal mine. But we also have issues due to lack of laws around intersex, infertility, and immigration and have a right to be heard – especially for innocent, voiceless IVF children. Our IVF children are SPLIT due to lack of laws, we cannot continue to bear and endure the torture and trauma in silence. We cannot see other IVF children, other infertile people, other immigrants just continue to be victimized and suffer just for speaking the truth. What we need is a legal framework and allow us to live in harmony with equal rights. Keep marching ahead.

In this generation, people who thought and looked ahead are punished and worse innocent IVF children are punished including abuse, silence, defamation, breaking the laws at any cost to steal a child away from his loving, caring biological family and the primary care provider. Let us hope in the future that people who look and think ahead if not rewarded are at least not punished and at the very least, their children are not punished for crimes they did not commit.

Social Justice

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.“. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Proactive

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”Mahatma Gandhi

If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Join the union, girls, and together say Equal Pay for Equal Work.”  – Susan B. Anthony

For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.” – US President Obama in 2013 at the inaugural address :

Seems like NOT much has CHANGED.

The list can go on as we as a humanity have a deep and long history. Lot of us humans have lived great lives and often pondered about the grave injustices of our times. After all, we are all mortals and cannot live forever. It seems throughout human history, there has always been some kind of social injustice. Whether its slavery or colonialism or casteism or racism or apartheid or women suffrage or civil rights or forced adoption of biological children from their “single mothers” or interracial marriages or gay rights or intersex rights or IVF (in vitro fertilization) rights and so on.

There are some VERY STRONG links between these.

1) They are widely accepted as social injustices. At one point in time, it was perfectly “legal” to practice these acts while once the struggle for social justice as had, laws were passed, the SAME ACTS became ILLEGAL.

2) After years or decades of struggle, at some point in time, the world does wake up, pass the EQUAL laws despite the STRONGEST of objections.

3) Typically, the group that is affected the most by each of these acts is a MINORITY.

4) In a democracy, the minority cannot get EQUAL rights without help and support from the MAJORITY even though these issues DO NOT affect the majority.

5) The people who may NOT be affected by these issues still need to be educated and made aware of the issues of each of these acts and the unequality it creates. This can ONLY be done through discussion, dialogue and sharing of truth and facts.

6) The MINORITIES continue to be victimized for which there is NO relief until the EQUAL laws come.

If history is a window into the future, more social injustices will be unearthed in the future, more struggles will be had, after education and spreading awareness, EQUAL laws will come. This is the cycle that humanity has created. Not perfect, but it is our utopia. We simply cannot satisfy ALL. Does that mean the voices who ask to be heard for their justice are WRONG? and should be SILENCED? Disagreeing with someone is NOT a CRIME, however using threats and oppression and manipulating LAWS is to SILENCE someone asking for justice is a CRIME.

Years ago a breast cancer patient lived in secrecy and stigma. There were less “survivors”. Today with awareness, education, truth, not only we have MORE SURVIVORS but also because of awareness there is better support both emotionally AND in research and development for better medical treatment including early diagnosis. Events like the recent publicity around Angelina Jolie only makes it more mainstream. If a spouse caregiver of breast cancer has the right to share facts and truth, does a spouse caregiver of intersex have same and EQUAL rights? More importantly, how is the secrecy helping anyone?

Is it wrong to ask for EQUAL rights for IVF children and families? Is it wrong to ask for EQUAL rights for intersex people and families? Unless we understand the LEGAL issues and the inequality that the IVF and intersex families are facing in 2013, how can the majority understand the issues they are facing? Without the majority understanding the issues, how can there be help and support in a democracy for the minority? Thats the system that us humans have set up. Vote banking. Not perfect but it is something and we have to work in those confines. May take years, decades or even expired lifetimes BUT that does not mean SILENCING the voices asking for justice and equality. Or does it?