State Department to Mom: Can You Prove the Sperm or Egg Were American?

Cell injection - artificial insemination by in vitro fertilization

Babies born to American Moms through IVF Denied Citizenship

The United States is fairly generous when it comes to granting citizenship to children. Children adopted overseas by American parents are eligible for citizenship. Children born in the U.S. are automatically granted citizenship even if their parents aren’t American. Children born to U.S. citizens living overseas are citizens by right. But if you are an American living overseas, who opts to get pregnant via in vitro fertilization, you’re out of luck – babies born to American mothers via in vitro fertilization aren’t automatically eligible for U.S. citizenship.

In vitro parents might be able to find their way around this red tape if they can prove one of the donors, either the sperm or the egg, is American. However donor confidentiality agreements make this nearly impossible to prove, especially for single infertile women pursuing parenthood via donated eggs and sperm. The State Department says that unless a parent can prove a biological connection to the child, citizenship will be denied.

Critics say the law hasn’t caught up with advances in reproductive medicine, and parents are suffering as a result. Most American parents living abroad are forced to return to the States to give birth, or lie to consular officials in order to gain citizenship for their children.


Meanwhile the State Department says it is reviewing its interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act to deem whether American citizenship can be transferred via in vitro fertilization.

Should children born abroad via in vitro to American parents be granted citizenship?