Surrogacy Legal Agreements
There are many ways to build a family, and advances in medicine and technology allow people who may otherwise be unable to have children to become parents in non-traditional ways. For example, many people turn to assisted reproductive techniques and rely on gestational surrogates to carry and deliver a child. Involving a third party in the conception and birth of a child is often a legally complex transaction, and it is essential for all parties involved to establish and define their rights and obligations through a legal agreement. If you are debating growing your family with the assistance of a gestational surrogate, it is wise to engage legal counsel to assist you in protecting your parental rights. The skillful Dallas family law attorneys of the McClure Law Group are adept at aiding parties in the development of thorough and comprehensive gestational surrogacy legal agreements, and we can assist you in navigating the intricate process of developing your family with the help of a gestational surrogate.Gestational Surrogacy Agreements Under Texas Law
Unlike many other states, Texas specifically enacted laws regarding gestational surrogacy that allow intended parents to protect their rights via a gestational surrogacy agreement prior to the conception and birth of their child. A gestational surrogate is a person who carries and gives birth to a child that they are not genetically related to for the benefit of the intended parents. Texas allows parties to enter into a gestational surrogacy agreement if the gestational surrogate agrees to become pregnant through means of assisted reproduction, which is typically in vitro fertilization. Specifically, the gestational surrogate may carry an embryo that was created from any combination of the intended mother’s egg or a donor egg and the intended father's sperm or donor sperm. Importantly, the law specifically states that the gestational surrogate’s eggs cannot be used to create the embryo implanted in the gestational surrogate for any gestational surrogacy legal agreement to be valid and enforceable.
A gestational surrogacy agreement allows the intended parents to have their names placed on the birth certificate when the child is born, and to immediately be recognized as the legal parents of the child, without the need for additional legal proceedings. The agreement also specifically terminates the purported parental rights of the gestational surrogate and, if they are married, their spouse. Notably, the intended parents must be married for a gestational surrogacy agreement to be valid, and both parents must be parties to the agreement. The law also allows parties to a gestational surrogacy agreement to institute a proceeding to obtain court validation of the agreement. A court will only validate an agreement if it finds, in part, that the intended mother is unable to carry a pregnancy to term or cannot do so without unreasonable risk, and that each party has entered into the agreement knowingly and freely. A seasoned family law attorney can represent you in these proceedings.Traditional Surrogacy in Texas
In traditional surrogacy, a person agrees not only to carry a child for a couple but also to donate the egg needed to create the child. While traditional surrogacy is not illegal, the intended parents are not afforded protection under Texas law. Rather, as the surrogate is biologically the parent of the child, the intended parents must legally adopt the child after it is born. As the intended parents often do not have any rights with regard to the child until after the child is born, there is a potential the biological parent could choose to retain custody of the child, leaving the intended parents with little or no recourse. Thus, traditional surrogacy is not favored under Texas law due to the risk of legal complications.Meet with an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Dallas
Gestational surrogates provide an invaluable service to people who wish to become parents but are unable to do so via typical methods. If you wish to engage the services of a gestational surrogate, it is in your best interest to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss your options. At McClure Law Group, we can craft an effective gestational surrogacy legal agreement to help you safeguard your rights. We have an office in Dallas, as well as a second office in Plano, Collin County, where we are available by appointment. We can assist parties in family law matters in Dallas, Fort Worth, Irving, Garland, McKinney, Frisco, Rockwall, and Richardson. We can also represent parties in cases in cities in Dallas, Denton, Collin, Tarrant, Rockwall, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us at 214.692.8200 or through the online form to schedule a conference.