We at the Brandy Austin Law Firm see several different types of family law cases. Our clients often approach us with issues that many people have questions about. One such question pertains to assisted reproduction and parental rights when it comes to men. The Texas Family Code outlines who has parental rights for children conceived by means of assisted reproduction. There is a difference in the establishment of parental rights between married and unmarried men.
A man who has no intent on being a parent and donates his sperm for assisted reproduction is not considered a parent of a child who is conceived using his sperm. Unmarried men who provide sperm for assisted reproduction of an unmarried woman can be considered a parent of the child if the intend on being the parent. Unmarried men must (1) Provide sperm to a licensed physician for assisted reproduction of an unmarried woman (2) Sign consent by the man and unmarried woman which is kept by the licensed physician.
Married men who provide sperm or consent to assisted reproduction by their wife will be the parent of the child conceived by assisted reproduction. It is best to sign the consent which is kept by the licensed physician however failure to sign a consent will not preclude the man from being a parent if both the husband and wife openly treat the child as their own.
The Texas Family Code also covers disputes regarding the paternity of the child between a married couple. Generally, married men disputing the paternity of a child conceived by assisted reproduction can do so through an adjudication of paternity. The married man must do so before the fourth anniversary of the date he learned the child was born and he must not have consented to the assisted reproduction before or after the child was born. A married man can bring a suit for adjudication of paternity if he (1) did not provide sperm, (2) did not consent the assisted reproduction of the wife before or after the birth of the child, (3) did not live with the wife during the probable time of the assisted reproduction, and (4) he never treated the child as his own.
DIVORCE AND WITHDRAWAL OF CONSENT
Divorce impacts the rights of parents if the assisted reproduction takes place after divorce. If the sperm is used by the former spouse to conceive a child, then the man will not be the parent of the child unless he consented in a written record kept by a licensed physician. This written record must state that the former spouse would be the parent of the child if assisted reproduction occurred after the divorce.
The former spouse can also withdraw his consent at any time prior to the completion of assisted reproduction.
If you or anyone you know has questions pertaining to family law or wishes to have a free 30-minute consultation, please contact the family law attorneys at the Brandy Austin Law Firm. Our attorneys are experienced in handling all types of family law cases including divorce, custody, adoptions and child support.