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How Does Reproduction Assistance Affect Paternity?

Assisted reproduction techniques have become increasingly popular for women and couples who want to start a family. Considering the increase in popularity, it is necessary for people who are considering this method of conceiving a baby to understand how the law views certain aspects of assisted reproduction.

Who are the baby’s legal parents after assisted reproduction?

The woman who carries and gives birth to the child, not an egg donor, is the legal mother of the baby. If the woman is married and the husband agreed to using a sperm or egg donation, he is the legal father of the child. This is acknowledged via a signed form when the assisted reproduction takes place. The child won’t have a legal father if the mother isn’t married.

Are sperm and egg donors protected from legal parenthood?

Sperm and egg donors aren’t ever the legal parent of the child. When the sperm and egg donation is made, the donor has no legal claim to the child and won’t have to support the child. It is important to note that a man can’t be a sperm donor for his wife. While he can provide sperm for an assisted reproduction, he doesn’t have the legal protection that is provided for a donor.

When does a court have to be involved in assisted reproduction?

If the woman is using a gestational mother, or surrogate mother, a gestational agreement has to be approved by the court prior to the woman getting pregnant. There are very specific points that must be mentioned in this agreement. Until the agreement is approved by the court, the gestational mother can’t become pregnant with the intended parents’ baby.

There are several other considerations that can affect legal parenthood. Making sure that you understand all of the considerations that affect your situation can help you learn where you stand when it comes to supporting a child and exerting your rights as a parent.

Source: Texas Partnership for Legal Access, “Assisted Reproduction and Gestational Agreements,” accessed April. 28, 2015

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