Before you work with a fertility clinic or enter into a surrogacy arrangement with someone located in another country, you should contact an attorney who can help spot and address potential issues before your children are born. One Canadian father is dealing with a heartbreaking situation where his children, born through surrogacy in Kenya and arranged by an fertility clinic in India, are essentially stateless.
The twin girls do not have Kenyan citizenship because the Kenyan gestational carrier is not the children’s biological mother. And, while the father thought his biological daughters would be granted Canadian citizenship because he is himself is a citizen, he has since learned that’s not the case. The problem is that the Canadian Citizenship Act includes a provision stating that a Canadian citizen’s children born in another country are granted citizenship, but that protection only works for first generation Canadians. The father was born in Italy to Canadian parents and moved to Canada when he was five years old. Unfortunately, this means his children are not automatically granted citizenship in Canada.
The father has been told he can sponsor his daughters’ citizenship in Canada, but that the process could take up to one year. He cannot take his twins out of Kenya during the sponsorship process; doing so could be difficult anyway as he would likely find it impossible to obtain Kenyan passports for the girls because they don’t have a Kenyan parent.
While nations like Kenya are becoming increasingly popular for would-be parents who are looking for lower out-of-pocket costs and expenses than they would pay in their home countries, this unfortunate situation highlights some of the risks they are assuming. This case shows how critical it is to work with an attorney before you move forward with assisted reproduction outside your home country.
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