Surrogacy Agreements in Texas
Surrogacy agreements are contracts that a couple or an individual enters into with a fertile woman to carry a baby through pregnancy. In accordance with the agreement, the baby is delivered to the couple or an individual after the pregnancy is completed.
There are several reasons why a couple might opt to choose surrogacy: the parents might be a same-sex couple, either of the parents might experience medical problems that make having a baby impossible, or one of the parents might be concerned about passing down a genetic disorder. Individuals who enter into surrogacy agreements need to be particularly careful about the terms of the contract. Surrogacy agreements are also frequently complicated because all involved parties experience a great deal of emotions throughout the process.
The state of Texas is considered one of the most surrogacy friendly states. A section of the Texas Family Code deals specifically with surrogacy agreements. These laws apply to any surrogacy agreement where the mother who is carrying the child or intended parents reside in the state of Texas.
Requirements for A Surrogacy Agreement
The intended parents of a surrogacy agreement must be married. In order for a surrogacy agreement to be considered valid, the intended parents must demonstrate medical evidence that the intended mother is either unable to carry a child or unable do so without a reasonable risk to either mother or child. The surrogate mother must have previously experienced a birth free of complications and be physically capable of having another successful pregnancy. Often home studies of the intended parents are performed. Surrogacy agreements should also name the donors in question if these individuals are different than the intended parents. The surrogacy agreement must be signed a minimum of two weeks before any exchange of eggs, embryos, or sperm. This two week requirement is intended to give all parties time to process and understand the agreement before the exchange occurs.
Requirements of A Physician
The physician who will perform the procedure must inform all parties about several elements, including the rate of successful and births due to a specific procedure, the potential risks associated with the exchange of eggs, embryos or sperm, the expense of the procedure, the presence of any associated health risks, and any foreseeable psychological effects of the process.
Validation of An Agreement
A surrogacy agreement must be validated to protect and enforce the rights of the intended parents. To validate a surrogacy agreement, parties must file a petition to validate the agreement and attend a hearing before a court of law. A court will likely validate an agreement if it is determined that the intended parents provided the required medical evidence.
Gestational And Surrogate Mothers
Texas law differentiates between “surrogate” and “gestational” mothers. While surrogate mothers carry the baby and supply the egg, a gestational mother only carries the baby and does not provide the egg. Gestational mothers have two particular rights: the right to make decisions to safeguard the health of the mother and the embryo and a limited ability to terminate the agreement.
The Assistance Of An Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you have any questions about a surrogacy agreement or need the assistance of an experienced family law attorney throughout the surrogacy process, contact an attorney at Conner & Lindamood, P.C. today. Our Houston lawyers are prepared to assist you immediately.