Jerusalem - American embassy and consular officials in Israel are requiring applicants seeking U.S. citizenship for their children to prove parentage in cases where they received fertility treatments, causing them consternation and bureaucratic hassles.
While Americans contacted for this article say the phenomenon of inquiring about fertility tretments is new, the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem stated that there has been no change in policy.
“The interviewing officer asked me over a microphone, ‘Are these your eggs?’” said Ellie Lavi of Tel Aviv, a Chicago native in her 40s who applied for U.S. citizenship for her newborn twins two years ago at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. “I was absolutely stunned, humiliated.”
Lavi is one of several mothers interviewed by Haaretz who expressed extreme discomfort at being asked such personal questions by an official stationed on the other side of a glass window, within hearing distance of other applicants.
Kelli Brown of Modi’in, a 33-year-old mother of three from La Crosse, Wisconsin, says she was shocked when she was asked about her baby’s origins when she visited the Embassy in Tel Aviv to register her three-week-old son.
“The interviewing official asked me if I had used ART to conceive the baby,” recalls Brown, referring to Assisted Reproductive Technology, which is used to help women become pregnant when they are unable to conceive naturally or carry a fetus to term. ART includes such techniques as in vitro fertilization (IVF ), sperm or egg donation, surrogacy, and other methods, each with its own implications for citizenship under U.S. law.