What is a Reproductive Lawyer? What Does a Fertility Attorney Do?

Attorneys advocating for your surrogacy and egg, sperm and embryo donation rights

While most people view Texas as a conservative state, Texas is one of the few states with sound and comprehensive laws on surrogacy and donation that provide clarity and protection to parents, surrogates and donors. That’s why people come from all over the world to execute legal agreements for surrogacy in Texas. In addition, same-sex couples and single parents enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples under Texas surrogacy laws.

Why should you consult a reproductive lawyer about surrogacy or egg, sperm and embryo donations?

Wondering if your desire to create a family warrants searching for a surrogate attorney near me? Or how a reproductive attorney near me could benefit you if you want to donate eggs, sperm or embryos? Our family law attorneys offer extensive experience in reproductive law, having helped parents navigate surrogacy, as well as egg, embryo and sperm donation in Texas, for nearly two decades.

Being well versed in the intricacies of Texas surrogacy laws, our legal team encourages you to seek the counsel of a fertility lawyer under circumstances where you hope to:

  • Use a surrogate to help you have a baby.
  • Be a surrogate for a married couple or single person who wants to have a baby.
  • Donate your eggs or sperm to help a married couple or single person have a baby via a reproductive procedure.
  • Donate your embryos to a married couple or single person who wants to have a baby via a reproductive procedure.

While Texas surrogacy laws offer prospective parents, surrogates and donors some of the best legal protections in the US, the laws must be followed precisely and legal documents accurately drafted and filed in order to minimize potential risks related to surrogacy agreements and donor contracts in Texas.

An experienced reproductive lawyer can help ensure you file paperwork properly and that all pertinent information is included in your surrogacy and donor agreements. A fertility attorney can also explain what to expect and what steps you will need to follow during the surrogacy or donation process.

Common questions about surrogacy in Texas

Should I use a surrogacy agency to help with my surrogacy or donation process?

Reputable surrogacy agencies can really make it easier to navigate the surrogacy and donation process. They know the red flags to look for when choosing a good surrogate or donor, can help with the legal and medical processes by recommending attorneys and physicians, and they can facilitate communication between parties. Keep in mind you will need to sign a contract with the agency and should have an experienced reproductive attorney review the contract before you sign.

Do I need to be married to have a child by assisted reproduction in Texas?

Texas surrogacy laws do allow single parents to utilize the protection of the surrogacy statute. However, if a couple wants to use a surrogate, in order to be afforded the protection of the Texas law, the couple must be married.

What’s the difference between traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy?

With traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is genetically related to the child. Traditional surrogacy is actually not protected under the Texas Family Code, so there are legal risks. Gestational surrogacy is where a woman carries a child on behalf of the intended parent or parents but has no genetic link whatsoever to the child. Gestational surrogacy is protected under Chapter 160 of the Texas Family Code: The Uniform Parentage Act.

Do I need to get a formal agreement for a traditional surrogacy?

While traditional surrogacy agreements are not enforceable under Texas law, you can have a reproductive lawyer draft a contract for traditional surrogacy. Because the surrogate is the genetic parent, our firm usually treats traditional surrogacy cases similar to adoptions. The parties sign a contract where the surrogate agrees that she will relinquish her rights to the child, which can’t be done until 48 hours after the birth. The risk here is that the surrogate could decide not to relinquish her rights, so the intended parents may end up co-parenting and paying child support in Texas to the surrogate—just like a traditional child custody scenario.

What is generally included in a gestational surrogacy agreement in Texas?

Gestational surrogacy agreements are lengthy and detailed, so we won’t cover everything here. However, some common provisions included in Texas gestational surrogacy agreements include:
·       How medical expenses would be paid.
·       That all parties agree to an open exchange of health information.
·       That 14 days must pass from the date the last person signs the agreement before any embryos can be transferred to the carrier.
·       That the carrier relinquishes any rights she would have had to the child by virtue of giving birth.
·       The amount of money that will be paid to the carrier for pre-birth child support.

Can I back out of a surrogacy agreement without penalty?

Texas law does allow any party to the agreement to back out at any point in time, as long as the carrier is not pregnant. In addition, the intended parent cannot hold the carrier financially responsible for any money they paid to the carrier up to that point. Most contracts also state that the contract is valid for one year or a certain number of transfer attempts (usually three) but the law does allow anybody to move to cancel before one transfer occurs (or two, or three) as long as the carrier is not pregnant.

Can same-sex couples become surrogate parents in Texas?

Yes. Texas surrogacy laws only state that a couple must be married. It does not specify a man and a woman must be married. We’ve helped many same-sex couples become parents via surrogacy.

Can I get paid to provide eggs, sperm or embryos for assisted reproduction in Texas?

An embryo donor cannot get paid for the donation of the embryos; however, egg donors can be and often are compensated for the donation. Texas law allows for the donation of eggs, sperm and embryos for assisted reproduction. The definition of a donor in Texas requires that the genetic material be provided to a licensed physician who will utilize the material for assisted reproduction. Home insemination does NOT meet the requirement of a donor under Texas reproductive law.

Our Texas reproductive lawyers can help guide you on your surrogacy or donation journey

If you’re ready to begin your search for a surrogate lawyer near me, our experienced and compassionate reproductive attorneys would love to help. To learn more about surrogacy and egg, embryo and sperm donation in Texas, contact us to schedule a confidential consultation with our firm.