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Understanding The Legal Issues Surrounding Surrogacy In Texas

  • Wade Christiansen
  • Fri, 09/26/2014 - 10:45am

For couples that long for children but are unable to have them biologically, surrogacy is an option growing in popularity in Texas. Surrogacy is when a woman carries a pregnancy for intended parents, and gives up all parental rights and responsibilities regarding the child. It gives intended parents the ability to have a newborn child of their own, often with genetic ties to one or both parents. However, before pursuing surrogacy, intended parents should first understand the laws and requirements regarding valid surrogacy agreements in Texas.

First, the Texas Family Code only recognizes Gestational Surrogacy agreements, in which a surrogate mother carries a fertilized embryo of the intended parents. The surrogate mother and her husband have no biological ties to the child, as the fertilized embryo is comprised of either the intended mother's egg, or a donor egg, and the intended father's sperm or donated sperm. Gestational Surrogacy agreements are legally binding contracts that stipulate the conditions of the surrogacy, including payments, the relinquishment of all parental rights by the surrogate, pregnancy and birth decisions, and many other factors.

A Traditional Surrogacy Agreement, in which a woman serves as both a surrogate and egg donor, is not recognized or validated in Texas. This is due in large part to the complicated legal risks involved because of the surrogate's biological ties to the child. It becomes much more complex to terminate the surrogate mother's parental rights, and has a greater likelihood for lengthy court proceedings for both the surrogate and the intended parents.

Although Texas recognizes Gestational Surrogacy agreements, there are limitations and laws governing the validation of these agreements. For example, the Texas Family Code requires that intended parents be married to each other, and both parents must agree to the Gestational Surrogacy agreement. This means that single individuals, or same-sex couples, would not have Gestational Surrogacy agreements recognized or validated in the state of Texas.

Because of the complexity and sensitive nature of surrogacy, it is best for intended parents to secure experienced Family Law attorneys to ensure a smooth and positive outcome for themselves and their surrogate. Christiansen Law Firm has years of extensive experience in Texas family courts, with Family Law attorneys that understand the changing laws regarding surrogacy and parental rights. Christiansen Law Firm offers exceptional and also affordable legal services, with offices in Houston and San Antonio. Contact Christiansen today for more information, or to schedule a consultation.

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