Birth Tourism in the United States – What is it? and Why?Molly Thornberg
Birth tourism continues to rise in the US. I know there are places in Mexico that cater to plastic surgery tourism. You can go get a cheap boob job or tummy tuck, but learn why giving birth in America is such a big deal to foreigners.
Why Would You Want to Travel Pregnant Just to Give Birth in the United States?
Millions of tourists travel to the US each year – of those – thousands of legal immigrants who don’t live here but have a baby here, have given their children the gift of citizenship, which the U.S. grants to anyone born on its soil. Yep, you read that right. By birthing your child here, your child receives the full benefits of a US citizenship. Those benefits includes the ability to travel to and from here easily as well as easy access to US education.
Birth Tourism - Maternity Houses and Hotels
Where there is an industry there is money to be made, and people are banking off of the birth tourism industry. Maternity houses are setup to accomodate pregnant women slightly before and for up to 2 months after birth. The mother gives birth in a U.S. hospital and then recovers in the maternity house. Prices for these services can reach up to $35,000.
Hotels are jumping in the game too by offering monthly rates, airport transfers and baby cribs.
Is Birth Tourism Legal?
The Houston Chronicle investigated this industry in June of last year. Here is what a U.S. official said:
U.S. officials confirm that it is not a crime to travel to the United States to give birth so that the child can have U.S. citizenship. “You don’t deny someone because you know they’re going to the U.S. to have children,” said a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Beijing, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing embassy rules.
The spokesman, who said expectant mothers typically claim they are going to the United States as tourists, compared the baby consultancies to services that help foreign students apply for American universities: “If you have the money, they give you the service. They tell you how to prepare your dossier.”
“I’m sure people in Congress would call it a loophole,” the spokesman said.
What Are Your Thoughts on Birth Tourism?