What You Need to Know About Surrogacy in Texas

What You Need to Know About Surrogacy in Texas

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Texas Surrogacy Laws and Information

Many intended parents and prospective surrogates in Texas ask, “Is surrogacy legal in Texas? Can I pursue a surrogacy journey in this state?”

The answer to both these questions is yes. Surrogacy is legal in Texas, and there are actually well-defined Texas surrogacy laws that protect the rights and interests of both parties to a surrogacy agreement in this state. As long as you work with experienced surrogacy professionals, you can safely and successfully achieve your surrogacy in Texas.

One of the professionals you must work with is a surrogacy attorney in Texas. This legal professional will explain every surrogacy law in Texas and how it will affect your individual surrogacy journey, helping you determine whether this is the right path for your family.

At American Surrogacy, we are happy to refer you to trusted surrogacy lawyers in Texas. In the meantime, keep reading to find out more about the basics of surrogacy in Texas below.

Q: Is surrogacy legal in Texas?

A: Yes, surrogacy is legal in Texas. While surrogacy laws in Texas require judicial approval of surrogacy contracts in advance of the surrogacy process, many courts actually approve of the surrogacy agreement as part of the parentage declaration process.

Currently, the surrogacy laws in Texas only apply to married couples (whether or not they use donor gametes), but courts may occasionally issue a parentage declaration for individuals and unmarried couples.

Q: Is compensated surrogacy legal in Texas?

A: Yes. There are no surrogacy laws in Texas that prohibit a gestational surrogate’s right to receive base compensation for her services.

Q: Is traditional surrogacy legal in Texas?

A: Yes, but traditional surrogacy is treated like an adoption, meaning a traditional surrogate must wait 48 hours after a baby is born to relinquish her parental rights. All paperwork must be filed after birth, and there may be restrictions on the base compensation a woman can receive as a traditional surrogate.

For more information on this surrogacy process, please contact a Texas surrogacy attorney.

Q: What does a surrogacy agreement in Texas cover, and how does the legal process work?

A: Texas surrogacy laws outline the aspects that must be included in a surrogacy contract. It requires that the intended parents, any donors, a gestational surrogate and her spouse (if married) be a party to the legal agreement.

This contract must be a gestational surrogacy agreement and be completed at least two weeks before the embryo transfer process. However, as mentioned, this contract is also frequently approved during the parentage declaration process.

During the drafting of this document, each party will be informed of the potential risks and complications, as well as the rights and expectations they have during their Texas surrogacy process.

The contract will be presented before a Texas surrogacy court, which will validate the agreement if:

  • The intended parents have completed a home study
  • The surrogate has undergone at least one previous pregnancy and is medically capable of carrying another
  • The parties have adequately described who will be responsible for the expenses of the process
  • An intended mother is unable to carry a pregnancy to term (up to court discretion, as not all gestational surrogacies include an intended mother)

If these terms are met, the court will validate the surrogacy contract and declare the intended parents’ rights to the child born under the agreement.

Q: Are surrogacy contracts (whether compensated or altruistic) enforceable in Texas?

A: If a surrogacy contract meets all of the requirements set forth by Texas surrogacy laws, it is enforceable in a court of law.

Q: What are the surrogacy laws in Texas on parentage orders?

A: As mentioned, the state laws regarding surrogacy in Texas only refer to married couples receiving parentage orders but, in practice, courts can issue parentage orders to unmarried couples and individuals pursuing surrogacy, as well. The availability of a pre-birth parentage order will likely be determined by the court and the judge overseeing the surrogacy case.

Therefore, speak with a local Texas surrogacy attorney to determine what steps will be necessary to establish parentage in your surrogacy journey.

Q: Are there any particular laws for parents outside the U.S. who complete a surrogacy in Texas?

A: No. There are no specific surrogacy laws in Texas that apply to international intended parents that do not apply to domestic intended parents.

Q: When do intended parents need to complete an adoption after birth? 

A: Typically, intended parents completing a surrogacy in Texas will not need an adoption after birth, as they will be able to obtain a pre-birth or post-birth parentage order. However, if they cannot obtain a parentage order, they will usually need to complete an adoption to establish their parental rights to their child born via surrogacy.

Q: Does Texas allow second-parent adoptions? Who would need to complete a second-parent adoption vs. a stepparent adoption (if applicable)?

A: Yes, second-parent adoptions are available in Texas, but there are limited exceptions. In most cases, a court will rule that a second-parent adoption is in the best interest of the child being adopted, and it is therefore a path for unmarried intended parents.

On the other hand, married intended parents who can’t obtain a parentage order can complete a stepparent adoption in Texas, instead.

Q: What happens in cases where intended parents use a donor egg, sperm or embryo?

A: In most Texas surrogacy cases, the use of a donor gamete will not affect the ability of the intended parents to obtain a pre- or post-birth parentage order. However, this will vary by court and judge, so your local surrogacy attorney can best determine what steps may be necessary in your case.

Texas laws do provide protections for intended parents by stating that a donor is not the parent of a child conceived through assisted reproduction.

Q: Are there any additional laws impacting same-sex surrogacy in Texas?

A: No. LGBT intended parents are treated the same under Texas surrogacy laws as any heteronormative intended parents.

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If you are considering surrogacy in Texas — whether as an intended parent or prospective surrogate —know that American Surrogacy can help. Our agency program welcomes all those interested in completing a surrogacy in Texas, whether they wish to work with a local surrogacy partner or be matched with a partner from another surrogacy-friendly state in the U.S.

Our surrogacy specialists can always answer whatever questions you have about the process of surrogacy and, when you’re ready, provide case management and support services to guide you through every step of the process. To learn more today, call 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

While American Surrogacy has made every effort to present accurate and up-to-date information, surrogacy laws in Texas are always subject to change. This article should not be taken as legal advice; please speak with a local surrogacy attorney in Texas for legal information on the current state of surrogacy in Texas.