USCIS updates policy on children born through assistive reproductive technology

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated its policy guidance on Thursday regarding children born outside of the United States through assisted reproductive technology.

USCIS updated its policy around whether a child born outside of the United States is considered to have been born in “wedlock.”

Under the new policy, a child is considered born in wedlock if a child’s legal parents were married at the time birth and one of them has a “genetic”or “gestational relationship” to the child. Both parents have to be recognized as the child’s legal parents in their relevant jurisdiction.

The definition of “child” is also expanded to include the child of a U.S. citizen parent who is married to the child’s genetic or legal gestational parent at the time of birth.

The change is particularly crucial for same-sex couples and others who have used reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, to have children.

Previously, a child’s genetic parents had to be married to one another, leading to instances where children who were born through reproductive technology were considered born out of wedlock.

In an emailed statement, USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou said the agency is “taking a crucial step towards ensuring fair access and support for all families and their loved ones.” 

“We are committed to removing unnecessary barriers promoting policies for all people as they embark on their journey to citizenship and beyond,” Jaddou said.

The State Department updated its policies around children born abroad in May to address such changes, saying that it “takes into account the realities of modern families.”

The agency had been dealt several blows in legal battles with same-sex couples.

USCIS said in its policy children who meet the new requirements and were previously denied a Certificate of Citizenship may ask the agency to reopen or reconsider their case.


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