As silly as it may sound, the United States State Department has historically taken the position that United States citizenship is a genetic trait. In other words, the Department would not recognize U.S. citizen mothers via egg donation as the mothers of their own children for the purposes of transmission of their U.S. citizenship.
The most significant impact of this policy was upon American moms living abroad and their egg donor conceived children. The end result was some rather bizarre methods employed by parents to obtain U.S. citizenship on behalf of their children.
Fortunately, the Department has reversed its position and is now recognizing that a gestational mother is indeed the biological mother of the child to whom she has given birth, and that she can transmit her U.S. citizenship in the same manner as mothers who don’t use egg donors.
Here are a few fast facts about this new policy on egg donors and citizenship:
• The new policy impacts egg donor conceived children born abroad to female U.S. citizens.
• The new policy allows a mother to transmit her U.S. citizenship to her child when she is “the gestational and legal mother of the child at the time and place of the child’s birth.”
• Mothers via egg donation will be required to provide proof of the required gestational and legal ties.
• The new policy applies equally to known and anonymous egg donations.
• The new policy treats these children as being born “in wedlock” for purposes of citizenship transmission. This can simplify the process and paperwork involved.
• The new policy does not make any changes to surrogate births. Therefore, parents using both egg donors and surrogates will see no benefit from this change.
• The new policy is retroactive. Therefore, prior denials will be reprocessed upon a new application (with payment of another application fee). However, the State Department will not be affirmatively notifying people whose applications were denied, so it is necessary for parents abroad to be proactive with a new application.
If you are a U.S. citizen who plans to give birth to an egg donor conceived child abroad, please contact me at the Law Office of Catherine Tucker to learn about your options for establishing your child’s American citizenship.