Chicago native Ellie Lavi, and mom to twin daughters, is an American-Israeli who gave birth to her children via in vitro fertilization overseas in Jerusalem. When later applying for U.S. citizenship for her daughters, her family was questioned. the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv wanted to know: did Ellie get pregnant at a fertility clinic? You might be wondering “Why does it matter?!” Well, apparently it matters very much. It turns out Ellie’s daughters were not eligible for citizenship unless she could prove that the egg or sperm used to create the embryo was from an American citizen.
In Michele Chabin’s USA Today article, “In vitro babies denied U.S. citizenship,” she walks us through the regulations of citizenship and the faults of the law.
The incident points out what critics say is a glaring inequity in U.S. citizenship regulations. 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.
This subject, and Ellie’s story, has stormed the media circuits and leaves many women frustrated about having to qualify what makes their family their own. The Los Angeles Times also brings up other questions of immigration law and parent gender.
For now, Ellie has given up actively pursuing U.S. citizenship for her daughters. It will be interesting to see if this case, and others like it, will be fought in court.
Join the conversation. What do you think of this ruling? As a mom, what would you do in this scenario?
Category: TwinLife Parent