Modern American Families & Citizenship Laws

James Derek Mize and his husband, Jonathan Gregg, are Americans.

The state department, however, says their daughter is not.

This is due to her birth to a surrogate, with a donor egg and sperm from her British born father. Because of this, she did not qualify for citizenship when she was born.

A letter denying their daughters citizenship was delivered to the couple last month.

The married couple’s example highlights the citizenship complications for families using assisted reproductive technology.

State Department policy requires a child born overseas to be biologically connected to an American parent to receive citizenship when they are born.

This can become complicated when only one spouse is a genetic parent.

The policy has been criticised recently in light of lawsuits claiming that the State Department discriminates against same-sex couples and their kids by failing to recognise their marriages. The policy classifies assisted reproductive technology births as ‘out of wedlock’, making it harder to get citizenship, despite the parents married status.


If I go abroad to have a child through the use of assisted reproductive technology, will my child acquire U.S. citizenship at birth?

-children born abroad may acquire US citizenship at birth if the parent/parents of child meet conditions outlined in Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)

-US citizen father must be genetic parent of child and meet all other statutory requirements in order to transmit US citizenship to child at birth

-US citizen mother must be genetic and/or gestational and legal mother of child at time and place of birth and meet all other statutory requirement


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