Tag Archives: US Immigration

In the War on Fertility, its the result that should count – the IVF child

Happy Children’s Day where two lovely IVF siblings were born through compassion of others but are willfully separated and have NEVER met. Let us hope this children’s day the rights of a child are placed FIRST and they are protected from misintended adults who want to abuse and deny them their rights for the selfish benefit of an adult. A child is a child but the laws are different for “natural born” Vs. “IVF” child and we are forced to talk about it separately. In an ideal world, all children are equal, when will this be true for an IVF child?

Lets dedicate an IVF children’s day to people like Dr. Subhash Mukherjee, India’s first doctor to successfully deliver an IVF child and the world’s second doctor (missing it by 67 days) to achieve the same. Both him and the Nobel Laureatte, World’s first doctor, Dr. Robert Edwards to deliver an IVF child are both about GIVING a child and NOT TAKING a child. Let us place child’s rights ahead of everyone else including misintentioned adults who commit crimes. Taking candy from a baby is easy but what have you proven? Denying the rights of an IVF child is easy but have you made it better or worse for others to follow?Equal Rights for IVF Children

What if you are attempting to build a family through IVF, is it a crime?

What if you have multiple IVF failed attempts, will you keep trying to have an IVF child?

What if after all those attempts, financial, emotional ups and downs, you have a lovely IVF child, will you abandon them?

Welcome to the world of IVF. Roughly, a little over 1% of all births are through IVF as per CDC. There are no known statistics on how many IVF births are abroad for a US parent. The point is its a minority and therefore very few people know about it. With changing lifestyles, people attempting IVF is only going to increase. Are the laws equipped to handle the IVF scenarios? More importantly, are innocent, voiceless IVF children protected under the laws from some misintended adults? Some clarifications on IVF :

1) As per US laws, all children born abroad are subjected to US Immigration laws.

2) A “genetic link” is required between a child born abroad and the US parent. So how do infertile people who cannot have a genetic link bring a child born outside the US legally? Kinda reminds me of the French revolution when the king said, “If they can’t afford bread, let them have cake”. Should infertile Americans be forced to break laws and convert unsuspecting fertile individuals into criminals?

3) The lack of laws for IVF children affects everyone – straight, gay, lesbian, intersex, white, black, hispanic, asian, other races, male, female, married, single, anyone trying to have a child through IVF! The worst affected is the innocent IVF child.

Use Cases :

1) If you are in an infertile marriage, as a heterosexual couple if you are to have an IVF child, depending on the infertility situation, you may use your “genetic” material as the laws define, either your own sperm or your own egg. What if it gets SWAPPED? Both intended parents are US Citizens, one is infertile, and the other who gave their “genetic material” accidentally got swapped by the IVF clinic abroad. This is NO fault of the IVF child, the US parents. But the law says, one of the US parents MUST have a “genetic link” to the child. Really? Do the parents care? Does the child care? Isn’t it just about being able to love and hold a child and raise them with love and care? Isn’t that enough?

2) If you are single, biologically, you need your own “genetic material” as per laws to have a child. What if you are infertile and single, SOL as per laws.

3) If you are gay or lesbian or intersex couple, biologically, only one can contribute, and if there is a DNA mismatch or the”genetic parent” abandoning the IVF child then the “left-behind parent” is SOL as per laws. Even if a “non-genetic parent” wants to love and raise a child, the law will ask them to do it in exile outside the US because they lack a “genetic link” with the chid.

There are some more use cases. The most important use case is the legal status of the IVF child. Regardless of how we get there, the result is a “stateless” IVF child. Does the child have rights? Can they live freely and have a legal identity? Was the every intention of the intended parent to bring the child to the US and raise them with love and care as a proud American? Then why this torture based on archaic 20th century laws?

We can pontificate on ethics of IVF, we can pontificate on US Immigration laws, we can pontificate on LGBTI marriages, we can pontificate on straight marriages, we can pontificate on racial discrimination, but we CANNOT continue to pontificate while we continue to discriminate against innocent IVF children and families. We CANNOT pontificate while we continue to discriminate against innocent IVF children for actions of their parent(s) – that is casteist. We CANNOT pontificate while innocent, voiceless IVF children are languishing in legal limbo with no justice. We CAN pontificate on rights of a child (any child including IVF) once the innocent child’s welfare and rights have been restored. To ignore the issues of an IVF child is to ignore the best in humanity – compassion of others to bring about the IVF child into this wonderful world.

IVF Rights Part of Immigration Executive Order

Recently, US President Obama announced that he will have an executive order for immigration reform. Are IVF rights on the agenda? Here are a few immigration-ivf-reformsimple reasons to have IVF rights on the agenda first and foremost in the best interest of the IVF child and then the intended parents and families. As a society, we cannot knowingly create stateless babies and punish IVF families for wanting to build families through wonders of IVF. It is time to celebrate IVF in the 21st century and not hibernate. If you agree with the change, sign the petition at http://chn.ge/1oltFl5 and support IVF rights.

1) Change the verbiage in the current US Immigration Law (7 FAM 1131.4 and 7 FAM 1131.5 and its sub-sections) that deals with IVF for US citizens: Change the phrase from “biological mother/father” to “parent“.  The “genetic link” requirement discriminates against infertile people (the very folks who are meant to give a helping hand through wonders of technology), punishes innocent IVF children for DNA mismatches, punishes IVF children born during a divorce or born into a LGBTI family or single parent family. 

2) Change the phrase from “child born out of wedlock” to “child born“.  If IVF children are deemed to be “born out of wedlock”, are we implicitly taking away their legal rights of being “born in a marriage”? Frankly, the verbiage is outdated and offensive.

3) The applicable US Immigration law for IVF fathers on US green card: We are asking for a change of one word – from “mother” to “parent” as cited in 9 FAM 42.1 N2.1 and 9 FAM 42.1 N1.1. This would allow an IVF father legally on US green card to bring a child born outside the US though an egg donor and surrogate to meet US law requirements. If a US LPR mother uses her egg and a donor sperm and surrogate abroad can bring that IVF child legally to the US then why discriminate against the IVF father who uses his sperm? Does the innocent IVF child care?

4) Family Laws and Best Interest of an IVF child born during a divorce – If a US couple has an ongoing IVF pregnancy, it must be mandatory to declare the IVF pregnancy to the court like a natural pregnancy in the event of a divorce so that the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD can be ascertained by the court. Suppressing information from the court is a crime. The rights of an innocent IVF child in a foreign country of a US couple are directly placed in a LEGAL LIMBO. Have a law that a US resident (US Citizen or Legal resident) must “pre-declare” for an IVF child if the surrogacy is done abroad which inherently will protect the rights of the innocent IVF child.

5) Left-behind IVF child law – The needs of an IVF child are NO DIFFERENT than a natural born child. An IVF child also needs love, care, clothes, food, shelter, books, toys, education, and so on. If an intended parent abandons an IVF pregnancy or IVF child in a foreign country, they should be held accountable and responsible because the IVF child’s needs are EQUAL. Is an IVF child LESS of a child than a natural born child? An IVF child is not an unwanted pregnancy but a deliberate pregnancy to bring an innocent life into this world. Laws should hold adults accountable and responsible for abandoning an ongoing IVF pregnancy they consented to.

6) Legal recourse for lapses – In cases where the fertility clinic lapses like accidentally swapping samples there should be a legal recourse. In this case, a DNA test would be negative but what if the intended parents still want to bring an IVF child born outside the US back to the US and raise them? It is traumatic enough to deal with infertility and the trauma only continues when there are serious lapses like switching samples of the biological parent. Some of these laws should be retroactive to UNITE innocent IVF children and families.

7) Debate on Parentage – Define clearly on parentage of the child including issuance of legal documents like birth certificate. A valid birth certificate is a fundamental right of the CHILD and not the parents. It is a document that the child carries for life including adulthood. As the technology evolves, (Link Is : “Three-Parent IVF” Up For Public Consultation In Britain : http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/250343.php) it is possible to have a “three parent IVF child” where the DNA is from three parents. What will be the legal impact of this?

8) Public Service –

a) Just like there are public service announcements through radio advertisements, etc. to educate and spread awareness about adoption and its legalities, there should be similar public service campaigns for IVF families.

b) Just like there are travel advisories for US citizens to risky regions, there should be IVF/surrogacy advisories for US citizens of countries that uphold basic IVF child rights and basic human rights of the IVF industry including donors and surrogates.

Would You Want Forgiveness or Compassion?

Knowing and admitting to one’s weakness is the biggest strength. It takes a lot to admit to the truth.child-alienation-child-abandon-ivf-compassion-forgiveness

We all have skeletons in the closet but what if they happen to be of innocent children whose rights have been violated, is that enough to speak up? They could be IVF children, they could be immigrants, they could be intersex families for whom laws do not exist. Threat of persecution is no reason to remain silent and being on the right side of truth and history is what matters.

A lot of people have said, aren’t forgiveness and compassion the same thing? To most, maybe. But to an immigrant, IVF parent of lovely IVF children, forgiveness and compassion are different. If you were climbing a staircase, where one step was forgiveness and other step was compassion and there is a fire burning below meaning you HAVE to climb, turning around is not an option, which would you choose? When a mother and father have raised their son to respect all, love your spouse and family, show compassion and forgiveness, why should he stay quiet? What is so heinous and criminal that they taught their child that we need to hold secrets or lie about? Don’t show compassion to infertile people, that don’t forgive liars, that don’t keep secrets? If none of these were taught, then two lovely IVF children would have never been born. As for the intersex  person, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has called for a STOP to the surgery. So if torture is heinous, is that the spouse’s fault or is that the medical community who victimized an entire immigrant, IVF, intersex family? If an intersex person is a victim of the medical community, what is it for the spouse and children of an intersex family? The lying must stop and let truth prevail. In the meantime, splitting innocent siblings cannot be the RIGHT answer, its a slap to our humanity as a whole, isn’t it? A parent is not only about being able to provide food, shelter, education for their child but also fight for their child’s rights instead of violating them and a parent has to lead by example the virtues of compassion and forgiveness.

1) If you are frauded into an intersex marriage and find out the truth after marriage and even though laws allow you to get the marriage annulled, you stay, is that forgiveness or compassion? You go on to become a spouse caregiver, is that compassion or forgiveness?

2) Because you are in an intersex marriage, there is infertility. You go for IVF under secrecy and lies because no one should know about the infertility due to stigma. These lies mean breaking laws. Is that out of compassion or forgiveness?

3) When one goes for IVF in an intersex marriage, you need an egg donor and a surrogate. Compassionate women will agree to become egg donor or surrogate, not forgiveness.

4) The IVF clinic who works on the case and is successful in a first of its kind case in India and probably in the world, an IVF child of an intersex, immigrant family. Legally, this family cannot exist because no prevailing laws support it. So is everyone breaking the laws forgiveness or compassion?

5) An IVF father is forced to lie and remain silent and NOT celebrate the birth of his first child and pretend father’s day never happened because of secrecy and lies needed to bring the IVF child to the US, is that forgiveness or compassion?

6) When a person is infertile and is married, is infertility an “I” problem or a “We” problem? When there are lack of laws for IVF children and families, is that an “I” problem or a “We” problem for an IVF family?

7) When there is victimization at the hands of the medical community of intersex people and the families and spouse of intersex people, is the victimization isolated only to the “intersex person” or are the families like spouse, children, parents, siblings also victimized? Is it an “I” problem or a “we” problem?

8) When you have an IVF child born outside the US, all IVF children are subjected to US Immigration laws. What happens when an innocent IVF child is caught up in the complex web where simply laws have not caught up with technology, what do these US parents do – the easy way is to abandon the IVF child they wanted and quite possibly poured their life savings and emotional savings into OR give up their life in the US and live in exile and raise the child they always wanted. What about the rights of the IVF child, an innocent human being? Do they have a say? Is this the best we can do as a society in 2014?

9) It is one thing to have laws which have not caught up with technology, to some extent it may be even inadvertent, but what is it to use these “gaps in laws” for selfish advantage which directly  hurts the welfare of innocent children? Is this a new level of white collar crime in the 21st century? And are laws there to protect the innocent children or place them in legal limbo?

10) If you are an intersex, immigrant, IVF parent, will you want forgiveness or compassion or both? And what does an innocent IVF child who has been abandoned deserve? And what does an innocent IVF child who has been alienated from his sibling that he wanted and biological family deserve? If a parent of an intersex child can ask for compassion and forgiveness, what can an IVF parent ask for his innocent IVF children?

To move forward, why can’t we see some compassion for innocent IVF siblings who have NEVER met and UNITE them? History has shown that united we stand, divided we fall and splitting siblings including the US judicial system will simply not stand the test of time.

Trauma for Intersex, What is the Trauma for Spouse and IVF Children?

Its 2014 but intersex is a taboo subject and not many people know about it. As per NIH, intersex is a medical condition that affects about 1 in 2000 births cropped-IVF-Spouse-Rights-Updated-e1372912834694.pngand some more rarer form of intersex are 1 in 20000 births. Historically it has been dealt with secrecy and lies somehow thinking that is a “good solution”. Shoving issues under the carpet is not an answer especially involving innocent, voiceless children. Due to decades if not centuries of repeated lies and secrecy, there has been little education or awareness about the subject. As a result, there are NO laws to address the rights of intersex people and families. In addition to the medical condition which is dealt with secrecy and lies, intersex families also have to deal with remaining “legally invisible”. This fosters an environment of social and legal ostracization which is formalized and legalized. Due to the dual complications of the medical and legal secrecy and lies, there is severe trauma, depression, stigma, etc. If this is true for an intersex person, what is it like for a spouse of intersex and his IVF children of an intersex family? Have the lack of laws and medical issues compounded? Is it a “linear” or an “exponential” compounding meaning have the complications quadrupled or is it sixteen times more complicated? Secrecy and stigma are the biggest culprits.

If an intersex person deserves basic rights then where are the laws to support the statement? If an intersex person deserves basic rights then do immigrant, IVF fathers deserve them too? Do immigrant IVF children of immigrant, IVF fathers deserve rights too? How many laws and people’s rights have to be violated in order to hide a lie?

Wanting children is a human right but having children is a legal issue. Wanting to marry whom you love is a human right but having all marriages recognized legally is not. Wanting to provide human rights when laws itself fall short is good but having relief for victims or any sense of justice is not. How can one pray for relief if there are no laws? It is barbaric just like barbarians existed when no laws were there. If an intersex person suffers from severe trauma, what are the needs of a spouse of intersex who has been abused and forced into silence under threats and what are the needs of IVF siblings who have never met each other because LAWS do not exist for them? Legally, intersex people cannot marry and biologically they cannot have children while US immigration laws require a “genetic lick” between a US parent and a foreign born child like an IVF child. Legally, a spouse of intersex spouse who has an IVF child during an intersex marriage, the child is considered as “child born out of wedlock” – there is a deragatory word for it in the English language. Is there a marriage? Should the spouse NOT have remained in the marriage? Does this mean that any intersex spouse who attempts to have a child in an intersex marriage will end up labeling their child as “born out of wedlock”?

It is important for a child to be born during a marriage from a legal perspective as they are protected and have access to services and provisions under the laws. The society we have created works on “norms” and an immigrant, IVF, intersex family in 2014 is anything but “normal”. If a child is NOT born during a marriage, they are placed in inadvertent legal limbo ruining several lives. It has long-term and lifetime implications for the innocent child. Is this the intent of bringing an IVF child into the world only to place them in legal limbo? The right answer is NOT banning IVF technology, the right answer is NOT banning intersex families, the right answer is NOT banning immigrants, the right answer is NOT punishing innocent IVF children who have committed no crimes, the right answer is NOT to use the voicelessness of innocent children into SILENCING them, the right answer is NOT to abandon innocent IVF children and denying them the basic human dignity and respect, the right answer is NOT continuing to lie, fraud and break the laws, the right answer is to discuss and pass EQUAL rights. If anti-IVF laws did not exist, could someone have used them against innocent IVF siblings to split them just so that they can have a child? Having two IVF children on two continents and siblings who have never met due to no fault of theirs is barbaric. How do we move forward from here – continue to be abused in silence or speak up and ask for a change in the best interest of the children?

One Thing I Cannot give my IVF children

Legally, I cannot give a sister to my son and a big brother to my daughter because I am an IVF parent and an IVF family must be punished and discriminated. Innocent, voiceless children must be ivf-child-2014-equal-rights-lawspunished because for crimes they did not commit and for being born through IVF. January 12 is World Daughter Day and today let us celebrate all daughters – future sisters, wives, mothers, aunts and maybe someday there will be IVF children day when world is more accommodating. In 2014, having children through compassion from anonymous egg donor and surrogate is such a terrible crime that the innocent IVF brother and sister must be punished for crimes they did not commit. I kept my IVF son’s dream to have a sibling. A father’s dream should become his innocent children’s nightmare because he dared to be compassionate and wanted to have children. I have a dream…that someday siblings will be able to grow up together happily despite their primary care provider being a father. I have a dream…that the love and character of a parent counts more than gender of a parent.

I gave a piece of myself, I gave multiple sleepless nights, I fought with infertility in a marriage, I gave multiple international lonely trips to have a child through IVF, I sought help and compassion of other women including egg donors and surrogates, I stayed persistent and kept trying despite multiple failed IVF attempts, I am responsible for my children, I physically had two IVF children but one thing I cannot give my IVF children is a physical hug, kiss, embrace, love, companionship of a brother and sister. One thing I cannot give my IVF children is a valid legal identity. One thing I cannot give my IVF children is freedom because I am an IVF parent. I miss him on missing out because of my gender.

I have hit the pavement, endeared abuses in your name, endeared abuses in my name because I dared to have children through IVF, I have seen doors slammed in my face because I ask for your IVF child rights, I have seen offensive and abusive legal language in prevailing laws against IVF children and families, I have felt that doing IVF is a crime, I have felt that having IVF children is a crime, I have felt that my IVF children should be punished like criminals. No one’s innocent children are criminals just based on their birth type – it is discrimination. Just like discrimination that occurred during slavery, women suffrage, civil rights, colonialism, apartheid, gay rights and so on. If the laws have not caught up with technology, it is a legislative issue, that does not mean innocent IVF children are criminals. NO “parent” including a traditional parent or a statesperson of a country or an entrepreneur or a politician for the lack of laws likes to hear their “baby” called ugly. Why is it OK to treat an IVF child without basic human dignity or respect?

While most US family courts are based on love and character of a parent, the US Immigration laws are based on biology and gender of a parent – a stark contradiction. While most US family courts consider the woman who gave birth to the child as the mother, the US immigration laws require a genetic link which means a surrogate in an IVF child is immaterial as per US laws – a stark contradiction. While most US family courts consider a child born during a marriage as a “child of the marriage”, the US immigration laws consider an IVF child as “child born out of wedlock” – a stark contradiction. While US family courts would see that a person is a caring primary care provider for his child regardless of the parent’s gender being male, the US immigration law requires an immigrant father to have a “US mother” to bring an IVF child to the US – a stark contradiction.

Since US Immigration laws require a “genetic link” between a US parent and child born outside the US, here are some thoughts.

1) Should infertile parents take their 9-month term pregnant surrogate to the nearest US consulate or Embassy to give birth to their US citizen child to bypass the immigration laws?

2) Should infertile parents be treated like military families who give birth to their child born outside the US but due to circumstances are deployed outside of the US?

3) Should innocent children of Americans who dare to innovate and think outside the box be punished because of their parents actions?

4) Do infertile middle-class Americans who are infertile deserve to be childless as per laws requiring a “genetic link”?

Reproduction is a human right and regardless of laws, people are going to continue and try to procreate with the tools available. How do we protect the innocent children? Do fruits of fertility treatments like IVF children deserve equal respect and protection under the laws? Is it time for laws to catch up with technology?

While every child is special, an IVF child is coming together of more than just two parents. It embodies the best of humanity. Dehumanizing and disrespecting an IVF child is also disrespecting the best of humanity starting with the innocent IVF child.

IVF in 2014, Could this be You?

The gap in IVF laws is like placing a staircase in front of a wheelchair bound person. 

We are turning a page from 2013 to 2014 with our own wish list as IVF families. Most people say that changing the laws is very long and a very laboriousIVF 2014 laws change process but it is worth it for innocent children. We do not expect miracles but we do expect equality in the America we know and want. If you are planning for IVF, welcome you are part of the IVFHood but could this happen to you if you attempt affordable IVF outside the US or should you remain childless as a middle-class infertile or dysfertile American?

1) What if the sample is accidentally swapped in the IVF clinic outside the US resulting in a DNA mismatch?

2) What if you are  a US citizen woman who uses donor sperm and egg and her own womb to have IVF children outside the US? You carry the IVF children to term in your own womb for 9 months, you love and care for the IVF children like any mother but you have no “genetic link” as per the US laws.

3) What if you are an immigrant father who uses his biological sperm, egg donor and surrogate to have IVF children outside the US? You have a “genetic link” but “no US mother” since both the donor and surrogates are foreigners.

US immigration laws which are discriminatory and based on biology and gender of a parent rather than the love and character of a parent. The innocent IVF child cannot come to the US without a “genetic link”, what will you do as an IVF parent? The innocent IVF child has been rendered stateless and may face being given away to an orphanage simply because we as humans cannot agree on laws. Dehumanizing innocent children is not the answer.

  • You may not care whether the IVF child is not “genetically linked” to you as a parent but the laws and government do.
  • Will you bring the IVF child illegally to the US using smuggling routes?
  • Will you relocate to a foreign country were your IVF child is land-locked and raise them with love and care?
  • Will you abandon the IVF child in a foreign country and return to the US disappointed and depressed?
  • Such stateless/forcefully abandoned IVF children end up in orphanages, do they have human and child rights?
  • Will you join the fight to change the laws with the times and have equal rights for IVF children and families?

The gap in IVF laws is like placing a staircase in front of a wheelchair bound person. 

There are both sides of the debate. Some people (mostly who are fertile) say one should adopt rather than go for IVF. Maybe they are not aware of the stringent adoption laws just like they may not be aware of lack of IVF laws. Some people may say if you are born infertile maybe a divine power had a reason and should remain childless. But what if you are in an infertile marriage, should the other spouse who is fertile also remain childless? Is it wrong to help a fellow human being who is infertile? Some people maybe anti-IVF, to them we ask once the IVF child is born, should all children be treated equally and not be discriminated on their birth type? Should we punish innocent IVF children for crimes they did not commit?

2013 has been a great year for the LGBTI movement but there is lot more work to do. DOMA was struck down. Several states are approving laws to allow same-sex marriages. US Immigration laws allows same-sex couples to sponsor for their spousal immigration. The next logical step is to have children in a marriage. While as per CDC data, 1 in 6 couples are infertile in the US, 100% of all LGBTI couples and single parents can only have a child through adoption or IVF and only one parent may have a “genetic link” with the child as required by US Immigration laws. These instances of lack of laws for IVF children will only increase, where are the laws to protect the welfare of the innocent IVF children? Or should LGBTI families be denied children? Let us hope 2014 marks a beginning of a new era where the laws have caught up with technology and social acceptance. Let us hope “baby scoop era” is not repeated due to “social inacceptance”. Let us hope the humanitarians of the 20th century, Mahatma, MLK, Jr. and Madiba taught us a small slice in humanity for the 21st century.