Last week, we discussed what it looks like to adopt a child through the Texas foster care system. This week, we're looking at surrogacy adoptions.
Texas approaches the act of starting a family through surrogacy differently than most states. Potential parents must follow strict guidelines while going through the surrogacy process; specifically, they must follow these 6 steps.
Step 1: Determine If Surrogacy Is Right for You
Any potential parents thinking about adding to their family through surrogacy should research exactly what the process entails.
You should research all possible:
- emotional; and
- physical processes and ramifications.
If you have thoroughly looked into surrogacy and determined you would still like to go through with the processes, you can move to step 2.
Step 2: Decide Which Type of Surrogacy You Should Choose
In the state of Texas, there are two types of surrogacy:
- Traditional Surrogacy: The process by which the surrogate mother uses her own egg. This type of surrogacy is not permitted unless all parties involved agree to treat it as if it were a legal adoption.
- Gestational Surrogacy: The process by which the surrogate mother carries the egg of the potential parent or an egg donor. This is the most common form of surrogacy in Texas and it is easier to complete.
An experienced adoption attorney can help you through the entire process, regardless of which type of surrogacy you choose.
Step 3: Find a Surrogate
When searching for a surrogate, you aren’t limited to searching exclusively in Texas. You and your attorney can locate a surrogate mother anywhere in the U.S. For best results, potential parents should create a profile that potential surrogates can view. The idea behind this is to find someone who has similar goals to you.
These goals could include:
- wanting the same amount of communication and transparency throughout the pregnancy; or
- desiring an informal relationship.
Step 4: Create a Texas Surrogacy Contract
Once all parties have been established, you need to draft a surrogacy contract. This agreement should be collaborative, and each party needs to agree to it before it can be signed.
Every surrogacy contract should include:
- finances; this includes the surrogate’s base compensation and any compensation she may receive for medical procedures, going on bedrest, possibly carrying multiple children at once, etc.;
- all liabilities and risks associated with the pregnancy;
- the health of the surrogate and her responsibilities to self-care during the pregnancy;
- a plan for possible pregnancy termination; and
- who will be present at all medical appointments.
Any and all potential scenarios that could play out during the course of the pregnancy should be addressed in the contract. It’s important to take every possible outcome into consideration so there’s a solid plan in place for any situation that might arise.
Step 5: The Medical Process
If gestational surrogacy was the chosen method, a medical clinic will create embryos and transfer them to the surrogate’s uterus. If traditional surrogacy was the chosen method, the surrogate will be artificially inseminated with either a potential parent’s sperm or donor sperm.
Once the surrogate has been implanted with the embryo or the sperm, the surrogate pregnancy can proceed routinely. They will attend regular check-ups, take care of themselves, and follow doctor’s orders. Many potential parents and surrogates choose to stay in contact during the pregnancy; some even agree to live with the potential parents until the pregnancy is over.
Step 6: Establish Legal Parentage
Surrogacy laws are strict and generally only allow married couples to receive parentage orders after the child is born. A court can, and will, issue unmarried couples or individuals pursuing Texas surrogacy a document of legal parentage.
If the court will not grant legal parentage, the potential parents can complete the adoption process. It can only be started 48 hours after the child is born and the surrogate mother will need to sign away all legal parental rights to the child first.
Let Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. Help!
Our adoption attorney is well-versed in the legal requirements for surrogacy. We can guide you through the process and find the best solution for your unique situation. Let us help expand your family!
Contact our firm online or call us at (281) 612-5443 to schedule your consultation.