Advances in reproductive technology have helped many couples and individuals to become families. Surrogacy, insemination and other techniques have offered a means for overcoming the challenges of infertility and have changed traditional notions about who is a parent.
These changes have had an impact on family-based immigration, where the issue of who is a parent to a child is the core question for immigrant eligibility. In a recent pronouncement, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has adopted a policy clarifying the definition of “mother” and “parent” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) so as to include gestational mothers using assisted reproductive technology regardless of whether they are the genetic mothers. Under the policy, the term “mother” and “parent” under the INA includes any mother who gave birth to the child, and was the child’s legal mother at the time of birth under the law of the relevant jurisdiction.
Under this new policy, a mother who meets this definition but does not have a genetic relationship with her child (for example, she became pregnant through an egg donor) will:
– be able to petition for her child based on their relationship
– be eligible to have her child petition for her based on their relationship
– be able to transmit U.S. citizenship to her child, if she is a U.S. citizen and all other pertinent citizenship requirements are met.
To view the full text of the memo, click here. This change in policy is just one of many instances that highlight the changing definitions surrounding parent-child and sibling-sibling relationships. For more information on family-based immigration and immigration issues arising from assisted reproductive technology, please contact us.