Surrogacy, ART and DNA Testing
SURROGACY, ART AND DNA TESTING
Hyderabad | January 17, 2013
Update: Please be aware that the Indian government requires medical visas for individuals coming to India for the purpose of surrogacy. Details of the visa requirement can be found in Frequently Asked Questions on the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs website here http://mha.nic.in/foreigDiv/FAQs.html.We advise those considering surrogacy to be sure to check the latest requirements with Travisa or the Indian Embassy or Consulate nearest you for the most current information on who is eligible for a medical visa and the consequences of coming to India to commission surrogacy without the proper visa. For a letter of support for application of Indian medical visa in surrogacy cases, please click here.
Determining U.S. Citizenship
Many, but not all, children born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent are eligible to be documented as U.S. citizens. For a child born through surrogacy to acquire U.S. citizenship and obtain a U.S. passport, sufficient proof must be submitted showing:
1) A genetic relationship between the newborn child and a U.S. citizen parent. This is most effectively accomplished through DNA testing, and DNA testing is now strongly recommended in all cases involving surrogacy. (Note: The genetically related parent must be a U.S. citizen at the time of the baby’s birth to be eligible to transmit citizenship.)
2) The U.S. citizen parent(s)’ physical presence in the U.S. according to the requirements of U.S. immigration law. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may have to prove up to five years of physical presence in the United States in order for your child to acquire U.S. citizenship. The rules regarding physical presence are very specific, and you should review them carefully. For more information, please click here.
Often, individuals underestimate the time required for determining their newborns’ eligibility for U.S. citizenship, obtaining their passports and Indian exit permissions and the potential for complication throughout the process. Straightforward cases can take two to three weeks, while unusual or difficult cases can take months. There are several factors that can influence this timeline, including the availability of appointments, waiting for DNA test results, completing the Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen (CRBA) and passport applications as well as going through the Indian exit visa process. While your case will be processed as quickly as possible, it is important to keep in mind that this process is unpredictable by nature and that you should expect the unexpected.
If you are considering traveling to India for surrogacy or any other Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures, please contact the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate well in advance to learn about any unique requirements or delays that may arise. A standard case will follow the steps below.
Step 1: Arrange for DNA Kit Shipment to the U.S. Consulate
In cases involving Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), including surrogacy, clear evidence of the child's genetic relationship to the transmitting U.S. citizen parent is required in addition to the other transmission requirements explained here. In most surrogacy/ART cases, DNA is now requested. For planning purposes, it is best to assume it will be recommended in your case as well. If you have questions about this, please contact us to discuss your situation via email at HydACS@state.gov
We encourage parents to pre-order the DNA testing kits and have them shipped to the Consulate approximately one month prior to the baby’s due date. We will hold the kits for you here until you come in for the sample collection. Please remember to order one kit for each person to be tested. The genetic parent(s) may choose to do their DNA testing in the United States prior to traveling to India. In this case, please check with the lab regarding the process for doing this.
All costs and expenses associated with DNA testing must be borne entirely by the passport applicant and his/her family.
We are often asked to provide information about specific doctors, clinics or labs. However, we cannot endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic. The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and each U.S. Consulate in India maintains a list of local doctors and hospitals, all of which are published on their respective websites under "U.S. Citizen Services." To learn more about Surrogacy, ART and DNA Testing, please click here.
Please note that you must use a lab accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). Click here for a list of AABB-Accredited DNA Testing Labs
Please ensure that the DNA laboratory you choose:
- Can process buccal swabs
- Is willing to process the testing for the relationship under question (not all tests are for paternity)
- Is willing to handle international shipments including providing the necessary customs clearance forms
- Will forward the buccal swab test kit to the Consulate with a pre-paid return envelope
We cannot make specific recommendations about which DNA lab you should use. You can contact the different labs and pick the one that seems to best suit your needs. Depending on which lab you select, it can take up to two weeks after the testing to receive the results. If you would like to have the DNA results as soon as possible, some labs do offer expedited services for an additional fee.
Please have the DNA kits mailed to the U.S. Consulate at the following address:
U.S. Consulate General
Consular Section - FPU
1-8-323; Paigah Palace
Chiran Fort Lane; Begumpet
Secunderabad - 500 003
Andhra Pradesh , INDIA
Please DO NOT use a third party to select your U.S.-based lab, arrange appointments, or transport specimens. In addition, at no time should the lab send you a testing kit directly. If this happens, please inform us immediately.
DNA kits take approximately one week to arrive at the Consulate, but please note that all incoming mail to the Consulate must go through a screening process before it is delivered to the appropriate section. Once your DNA kits have arrived, we will hold them until your DNA appointment has been scheduled. If you have any questions regarding the DNA collection process, please contact HydFPU@state.gov
Step 2: Schedule Appointment for DNA collection at the U.S. Consulate
Once your baby has been born and you have the birth certificate, please notify us via e-mail (HydACS@state.gov and HydFPU@state.gov). Please note that the birth certificate is required for both the DNA collection and passport/CRBA appointment.
DNA collection is overseen by staff from our Fraud Prevention Unit. They must schedule the DNA appointment for you. Please be aware that the DNA collection schedule is determined in coordination with an outside lab technician, and DNA testing generally takes place only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Once your name has been added to the schedule, our FPU staff will send you an e-mail confirmation of the date and time of the DNA appointment.
Any exceptions to the regularly established schedule are made on a case by case basis only, and we cannot guarantee that other times will be available.
The applicants should arrive at the Consular Section at least 15 minutes prior to their appointment. Please note that phones, cameras and other electronic items are not allowed inside the Consulate.
Applicants must bring these documents to the DNA collection appointment at the Consulate:
- Original birth certificate and a photocopy of the same for the child. Applicants using surrogacy services should present local birth certificates listing the names of the commissioning parents as the child’s parents. If there is any discrepancy between the birth certificate and the names of the commissioning parents as listed in the surrogacy contract, a local lawyer’s affidavit stating the legal parentage of the child may be required. If you have any questions regarding your specific situation, please contact us prior to your appointment.
- Original passports of the accompanying US citizen parent(s) of the child. No other form of ID for the U.S. citizen parent is accepted.
- Two photographs of each person to be tested – i.e. the child and accompanying US citizen parent(s). If a parent has completed DNA testing in the United States, we need one photograph of the parent along with a photocopy of the passport to accompany the child’s DNA kit.
The DNA test facility will communicate the results directly to the Consulate. We must receive the DNA results directly from the lab. We will contact you once we have received the results, and we are ready to proceed with issuing the passport.
Step 3: Appointment for ACS Interview at the U.S. Consulate
Once the Consulate has notified you of the date and time of your DNA collection, you can then make your own online ACS appointment for submitting the applications for the passport, CRBA and Social Security card. To do this, please click here. Depending on our schedule and your preference, your two appointments may or may not be on the same day. Please remember that the child must be physically present for both the DNA and ACS appointments.
On the day of the appointment(s), you will come to the U.S. Consulate. If you plan to bring someone to help with the baby to the appointment with you, please be sure s/he has photo identification to show the guards. Also, please be aware that, for security reasons, there are a number of things that you cannot bring with you inside the Consulate. For a list of restricted items, click here. If a visitor brings prohibited items, they must be disposed of prior to entry.
Please bring the following documents to your appointment:
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen (DS-2029 PDF 100 KB)
- U.S. Passport (DS-11 PDF 89 KB)
When filling out the applications for the passport and CRBA, please provide the information of the genetically related parent and -- if named on the Indian birth certificate -- the second parent. For more general information about applying for a CRBA, please click here.
- Social Security Card (SS-5 PDF 233 KB)
We will submit your request to the Social Security Service, which will send your child’s Social Security card to your mailing address within about three months. There is no charge for this service.
- Affidavit of Parentage, Physical Presence and Support (DS-5507 PDF 136 KB)
Please bring whatever you believe is necessary to demonstrate that you have met the requirements to transmit U.S. citizenship. If only one parent is genetically-related to the child, physical presence requirements will be based on sections of the law for out-of-wedlock births.
We will also need to see the surrogacy contract as well as any relevant medical records. Please be aware that ART and surrogacy situations are complex and frequently require additional documentation. We encourage you to carefully review all of the information provided, including the links, to ensure you are aware of all the required documents. Please keep in mind that the more documentation you can provide, the easier it will be for the consular officer to approve your applications. The process will be much easier if you come to the interview well-organized and fully prepared.
Whether you plan to stay in India or travel outside of India, your child will need an Indian visa. The child cannot leave the country without an exit visa.
After receiving your child’s US passport, you can then apply for an Indian visa or exit permit at the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in your area. The Consulate will provide you with a letter of introduction to present to the FRRO. The exit visa will be placed in your child’s new passport. This process generally takes 2-3 business days. However, please note that this visa is issued by the Government of India, and the U.S. Consulate cannot provide an exact timeline for the processing of the exit visa, and we cannot expedite the process on your behalf.
Notes about Surrogacy in India
To date, India has passed no specific laws governing its burgeoning Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) industry. Many medical and legal service providers voluntarily follow ART guidelines drafted by the Indian Council on Medical Research, but these are not binding. U.S. citizens considering coming to India for ART procedures, including surrogacy, are encouraged to carefully research and select service providers.