Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Are U.S. Citizenship Laws Falling Behind Reproductive Technology?

It appears that the U.S. immigration and nationality laws are under stress due to advances in reproductiuve technology.

USA Today reports on a U.S. citizenship issue that has arisen out of in vitro fertilization:  "A child adopted overseas by a U.S. citizen is eligible to become an American, and a baby born in the USA is American even if the parents are not. But a child born to a U.S. citizen overseas through the increasingly common practice of in vitro fertilization with embryos from donor eggs and sperm is not American, unless an American is one of the donors. And that can be hard to prove since clinics may not reveal such things about their donors due to confidentiality agreements, immigration law experts say."  The U.S. State Department says a child born outside the United States to an American cannot receive citizenship until a biological link with at least one parent is established. That link does not exist if an infertile woman uses donor eggs at a clinic to conceive.

In another story, CNN reports that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held that a Nigerian immigrant is responsible for paying child support for twins conceived through in vitro fertilization with his wife -- even though the procedure took place at least a year after the couple had separated. The court ruled earlier this month that because the husband had originally consented to the artificial insemination procedure, he is now responsible for the payments as the twins' parent. Okoli had argued that the agreement should be void because he had consented under duress. He said his ex-wife, Blessing, threatened to obstruct his U.S. citizenship application if he did not consent.  Though the couple separated in 2000, donor eggs became available in November of the following year. Blessing Okoli then acquired the husband's consent to begin the in vitro procedure at a fertility clinic in Boston. Their twins were born May 12, 2003.


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