Surrogacy in Texas – What the Law Involves
Posted by Staff Writers on January 9, 2009
It’s often ironic how things like pregnancy and childbirth, processes that happen naturally, are elusive to some women and drive them to the limits of desperation. Today’s scientific and technological advances allow them to seek alternative ways to conceive a child – using artificial insemination or going in for an in vitro fertilization procedure where the egg and the sperm are fertilized outside the body and then implanted in the mother’s womb. Adoption and surrogacy are other non-invasive options, and although adoption is the cheaper and easier alternative, if a couple wants the child to be a part of their genetic makeup, surrogacy is the only way out.
A surrogate mother is someone who, to put it in ordinary terms, carries your child in her womb for you. The child may either be biologically yours (the father’s sperm and the mother’s egg are fertilized outside and the surrogate acts as a sort of baby carrier), be partly yours (the intended father’s sperm is artificially inserted into the surrogate mother), or have nothing to do with either of you genetically (the egg and sperm are both from donors). Any of these scenarios are laden with doubts and issues, ethical, moral, social and legal.
The US is divided over the issue of surrogacy – while some states don’t have specific laws relating to the subject, others are hazy. In Texas though, the procedure is heavily regulated and the following laws apply:
- The intended parents must be married to each other.
- Couples of the same sex are not allowed to hire a surrogate to carry a child for them.
- The intended parents must legalize the process through means of a contract signed and approved by a court. The contract allows the intended parents to claim parental rights as soon as the child is born. This is in contrast to a few other states where the intended parents are required to file adoption papers to legally adopt the child as their own. The surrogate is the legal mother listed on the birth certificate.
Surrogacy is a costly option and is fraught with a host of emotional issues, from the time you choose a surrogate, through taking care of her medical and other needs, hoping and keeping your fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong with the pregnancy, till the time the baby’s born and you get to take him or her home. Be warned that the surrogate mother is bound to feel emotionally close to the baby and may want to keep it for herself once it’s born (worst case scenario) or at least stay in touch with your child as he or she grows up. Whatever the case, ensure your rights through the right legal procedures at the time of hiring the services of the surrogate.