Who’s your Daddy in the new age of reproduction?

Texas Family Code §160.702Today, in the case of In The Interest of PS, A Child, the Fort Worth Court of Appeals provided an answer to that question. In this case, a child was born as a result of a sperm donation to the mother from a male friend. However, the donation was not made through a licensed physician but directly to the mother who successfully inseminated herself with the donation.

Initially, mother and her friend agreed that he would be part of the child’s life, but when mother’s position on that changed, he sought to have the parent-child relationship legally established between him and the child. The mother maintained he could not be legally established as a parent because he was a “donor” per Texas Family Code §160.102(6) which is defined as an individual who provides sperm to a licensed physician for use in assisted reproduction. Texas Family Code §160.702 provides that a donor is not a parent of a child conceived as a result of assisted reproduction.

The court held that in this case that the definition of “donor” was not met as the donation was not made through a licensed physician as required under the family code. The trial court’s order establishing the parent-child relationship with the father was affirmed, including naming him joint managing conservator with the mother, awarding him possession periods with the child, and ordering that he pay child support.

Medical advances and evolving social attitudes have opened new avenues as to how children can be conceived; allowing people the opportunity to fulfill their dream of having a child when they might not otherwise have been able to do so. However, this case highlights the importance of fully understanding the status of the participants under Texas law before choosing a course of action to make that dream come true.