Texas Reproductive Lawyers
Texans enjoy some of the best protections for surrogacy and donor agreements for egg, sperm and embryos. Although surrogacy laws in Texas protect these agreements, the legal rules around these agreements are complex. If your agreement does not closely follow the legal rules, then you are at risk of revocation of the agreement and other problems. Reproductive lawyers experienced with Texas surrogacy laws understand how to draft these agreements to accomplish your goals.
Surrogacy agreements and donor contracts can help you:
- Use a surrogate to bring a child into your family
- Act as a surrogate for somebody who wants to have a baby
- Donate your eggs or sperm through a reproductive procedure to have a baby
- Donate your embryos to somebody who wants to have a baby
Common surrogacy questions in Texas
Can I receive compensation for eggs, sperm, or embryos to help another person or couple reproduce?
Egg donors may receive payment for donation. Embryos and sperm donors cannot lawfully receive payment. Donation also must occur under the care of a licensed physician for the purpose of assisted reproduction only.
Do I have to be married to get help from a donor?
Not necessarily. A single person can receive a donation of genetic material or enter into a surrogacy agreement.
If a couple intends to use a surrogate, then Texas law protects a surrogacy agreement only if the couple are legally married.
Can same-sex couples become surrogate parents?
Yes although Texas requires the couple marry before the surrogacy law applies. The surrogacy statute does not limit protection to opposite sex couples.
Can a transgender person become a surrogate parent?
Nothing in the surrogacy statute prohibits transgender individuals from becoming a surrogate parent. The same rules would apply to a couple in which one or both people are transgender.
Do I need to use a Texas surrogacy agency to help with my surrogacy or donation?
There is no requirement in Texas that you employ a surrogacy agency for a surrogacy or donation. Nevertheless, you may want to work with a reputable surrogacy agency. These agencies can help make the process easier for you. These agencies have experience screening donors and surrogates which will help avoid problems down the road. They can also recommend attorneys and medical providers. They will ask you to sign a contract and you should have your reproductive lawyer review it before signing.
What are the different types of surrogacy?
There are two types of surrogacy:
- Traditional surrogacy
- Gestational surrogacy
Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate has a genetic relationship to the child. (The surrogate is the biological mother to the baby.) In Texas there is no protection for this form of surrogacy. As a result, there are legal risks to this approach.
Gestational surrogacy is when the surrogate has no genetic relationship to the child. In this method an embryo from another biological mother and father is implanted in the surrogate to carry. This form of surrogacy is protected by the Texas surrogacy statute.
Your reproductive lawyer can discuss the legal and non-legal risks involved in both approaches.
How can I pursue a traditional surrogacy in Texas?
Although Texas does not protect traditional surrogacy agreements, it does not prohibit them. The parties may sign a contract in which the surrogate agrees to relinquish her rights after giving birth. The surrogate parents will then adopt the baby. This is a more complex arrangement than a gestational surrogacy; however, the surrogate parents may have good reason to make that decision.
If the surrogate decides not to relinquish her parental rights, then there is nothing the surrogate parents can do to force her to relinquish her rights or involuntarily terminate her rights. She possesses all the parental rights of any other biological mother. The surrogate parents may have to go to court in a child custody case and may even have to pay her child support.
What does a gestational surrogacy agreement do?
Gestational surrogacy agreements are often lengthy and cover many contingencies. Generally, the agreements address these core issues:
- How the surrogate’s medical expenses will be paid
- An agreement to give the surrogate parents access to the surrogate’s health information
- The length of time between signing the agreement and transferring an embryo to the surrogate
- Agreement that the surrogate relinquishes all parental rights to the baby once born
- What amount the surrogate parents will pay the surrogate for prenatal child support
Generally either side to the agreement can unilaterally cancel the agreement; however, once the surrogate becomes pregnant the agreement cannot be revoked. If revocation becomes an issue, then you should talk to your fertility lawyer right away.