Can a sperm donor get immigration?
April 15, 2006 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Can a non-Canadian man donate sperm to a Canadian lesbian couple and use that child as justification to apply for immigration? Furthermore, once his immigration goes through, can the non-carrying lesbian adopt the child and be a legal parent?

I know that if, say, a European man has a child with a Canadian woman in Canada, then he can apply for citizenship based on the fact that his child is Canadian. I am a lesbian, though, and a non-Canadian friend of mine has offered his sperm to my partner and I as long as he is on the birth certificate as parent for long enough to immigrate.

What sort of hoops would we have to go through? Would the pregnant lesbo have to lie and say she slept with him or dated him? How long would we have to wait before the other lesbo applied to adopt?

When using a sperm donor you generally write up a contract saying that the donor has no rights or responsibilities whatsoever to the child, but in this case a contract of this sort would be impossible. Is this something we should worry about?

If you need further clarification, go ahead and ask. I'll post responses through Jessamyn if need be.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (16 answers total)
Sperm donors aren't parents. This will not qualify you for citizenship.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:55 PM on April 15, 2006

I think that your best bet would be not through parentage but through marriage.
posted by k8t at 1:10 PM on April 15, 2006

The CIC people will see right through this scam. Being the parent of a child does not gauranteed you access, it just gets you to the front of the line, but you still get looked at. And frankly, if you admit you're merely the donor of the sperm I'm not 100% sure they'd ever count you as the parent. (What baby_balrog said.)

Problems include: being on the birth cert long enough to immigrate = forever, because if CIC ever finds out you scammed them (even 10 years later) then can and will revoke your citizenship/landed status and kick you out of the country. I've seen it happen where people withhold info and have it bite them in the ass 14 years later.

Lying to say you slept with or dated the other parent isn't enough, as CIC will likely require documentation (love letters, for example) going back further than you're going to be able to provide.

And yes, the contract for the donor would also be a huge problem for both CIC and anyone who signed it in these circumstances.

Speaking as a Canadian who was in favour of getting full rights for gay couples, and one who has worked for the CBSA I have to say I'm pretty offended that you'd want to illegally enter the country with this sort of scam. This type of thing puts gay couples parenting rights in a bad light. In addition, getting a visa to come work or live in Canada is not hard if you don't have a criminal record and do have any sort of useful skills. And if you don't, then I think we've already made it clear that we don't want/need you in Canada. I don't mean to be harsh, but the rules are in place for the benefit of everyone, immigrants and residents alike. If you sneak in this way you're taking the place of someone who could have got in legitimately.
posted by tiamat at 1:12 PM on April 15, 2006


Also, although nothing would likely ever come of it I feel I should advise people posting to this thread that providing advice on how to evade CBSA or CIC authorities could be considered a violation of the Immigration Act and/or the Customs Act, which could result in civil or criminal penalties under the same.
posted by tiamat at 1:24 PM on April 15, 2006

I know that if, say, a European man has a child with a Canadian woman in Canada, then he can apply for citizenship based on the fact that his child is Canadian.

Are you sure this is true? Are you sure that this isn't about marriage?

I suppose under equality laws that this would also apply for lesbians.
posted by k8t at 1:27 PM on April 15, 2006

From Wikipedia:

Under the 1977 legislation, Canadian citizenship is acquired by:

* birth in Canada (except in cases where parents are diplomats)
* birth overseas to a Canadian parent
* naturalisation (grant) after three years residence in Canada
* notification in the case of a woman who lost British subject status by marriage before 1947
* registration in some cases of persons born outside Canada to a Canadian citizen before 15th February 1977 (these provisions were terminated on 14th August 2004).

Canadian citizens are in general no longer subject to involuntary loss of citizenship, barring revocation on the grounds of immigration fraud.

The one exception is section 8 of the Citizenship Act which applies to Canadians born outside Canada to a Canadian parent who also acquired Canadian citizenship by birth outside to a Canadian parent. Such persons lose Canadian citizenship at age 28 unless they have established specific ties to Canada and applied to retain Canadian citizenship.
posted by k8t at 1:32 PM on April 15, 2006

The sperm donor would have to marry one of the lesbians, and live with her. The Canadian gov't is surprisingly effective at doing spot checks and questioning both parties separately to make sure it's not a ruse. I've heard of questions along the lines of "Where does he keep his toothbrush" and "on what side of the bed does she sleep on" for example.
posted by furtive at 1:55 PM on April 15, 2006

Can this non-Canadian man afford child support if things work out differently from what you planned?
posted by caddis at 2:20 PM on April 15, 2006

Maybe, instead of speculating, you (or the guy in question, or better yet someone else altogether who isn't involved) should simply contact the CIC directly and ask them for clarification about immigration laws and regulations. (For what it may be worth, I searched around on that site and didn't see anything about sperm donors or the fathering of children, though it was only a cursory search and there may be more information to be found there.)
posted by Gator at 2:31 PM on April 15, 2006

I say this whole issue is just smoke. If your foreign friend can legitimately contribute to Canadian society without jeopardizing the rights and opportunities of existing citizens, then he should be able to immigrate here on his own merits. If not (and it's the government's decision - my opinions don't count, sadly) then he shouldn't try to lie his way into the country.

Don't get me wrong - As a Canadian, I'm all in favour of letting people come here and enjoy our fabulous country. But I don't have a high-level understanding of immigration requirements and controls, so I can only say a government should have the right to limit immigration both broadly and specifically, and lying to get around the rules is lame.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:34 PM on April 15, 2006

Oh wow. Making a baby as a quid pro quo seems like a big can of worms.

What will your child think of being born in trade? How will he regard a "father" (not "donor", according to either his moms' official cover story or his own birth certificate or the truth of the situation) who effectively sold him for a citizenship card?

If the man doesn't get his half of the trade, might he try to renege on the deal either by reporting the mothers for immigration fraud or contesting a second parent adoption or fighting for visitation rights? Or if a pregnancy never results from his "donation", might you and your partner lose enthusiasm for maintaining a years'-long charade on his behalf? If you and your partner broke up, and one of you stopped upholding the deal, could the other partner and your child suffer any consequences?

And isn't this -- morally if not legally -- baby selling? How will you and your partner feel when your child one day asks difficult questions?

If this is the man's best option for obtaining citizenship or your best option for conceiving a child, then there's a danger of someone consenting to something s/he would never do if circumstances granted more freedom. One of your responsibilities to your child should be to assure that she will not born out of a (unintentionally, I'm sure, but...) coerced or exploitive arrangement.

With any non-anonymous sperm donor, you need to make detailed contracts to protect both parties and the child. Now imagine that one side fails to comply with its obligations under the contract. What happens next? Even if there's a court willing to enforce an illegal contract, everyone including the child could be subjected to some very painful publicity.

Go to a sperm bank. Get anon-spunk. Make a beautiful baby for you and your partner to shower with love. In the meantime, help your friend find a legitimate way to immigrate. You'll all be better off for it.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:20 PM on April 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

(P.S. "...but in this case a contract of this sort would be impossible")

A contract is a contract. Making it verbal, instead of written, doesn't make it less of a contract. That just makes the whole deal messier to comply with, enforce, and avoid argument over.

posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:23 PM on April 15, 2006

follow up from the OP:

First off: the lesbian asking this question is indeed a girl.
Second: I feel the need to clarify because this has gone in a completely different direction than I intended. Thank you to the folks in the MeTa thread who defended me. I am NOT looking for a way to get around immigration laws, to scam the country I love so much, or to break the law in any way. I am a married lesbian who wants to have kids and a friend of mine, who happens to be from out of the country and who is here for university, had offered to donate sperm. He had heard that if he fathered a child in Canada, his immigration would get fast-tracked and we were wondering if this was true. My friend has a Canadian bachelor's degree and an internship with a Canadian government agency, so his eventual immigration is pretty much assured. He was just wondering if it could happen faster, while doing us a favour.

Thanks to your answers, we see that this is not a possibility. That's all I wanted to know. Please hold the moral outrage.
posted by jessamyn at 3:35 PM on April 15, 2006

Take this as an example on why anon questions should have as much detail as possible in the original post.
posted by puke & cry at 3:45 PM on April 15, 2006

Unless the details are not "relevant," or they're "extraneous backstory," to be determined by the viewers.
posted by Gator at 3:50 PM on April 15, 2006

I don't think the outrage/indignation was justified at all. Everyone's just a leeeeeetle bit on edge about immigration law lately ...
posted by kyrademon at 4:03 PM on April 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

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