A year ago, a Houston mother was asked by her young son for a sibling. At 41, the mother, Zel Burns, and her husband Errol were doubtful, but decided they would attempt to give their son the sibling he so desired. Now 42, the miracle mom Zel Burns is nearing the end of her pregnancy with twin girls without the help of fertility treatments, according to KHOU-TV.
What about those of us that are not as lucky as the Burns family? Infertility affects almost 12% of women 15-44, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This statistic only means that there is more difficulty with becoming pregnant, not full infertility. Now there are many options when it comes to infertility, and these options come with legal questions as well.
One treatment for couples is artificial insemination with either the husband or partner's sperm, or with donor sperm from a repository or a friend. When another person's genetic material is used, the issue of paternity is raised.
Generally, states have a presumption that the man who is married to the mother at the time of birth is the legal father of the child. In Texas, this presumption can only be overturned by a court's ruling, or by the presumed father denying paternity while another man files acknowledgement of paternity. So, if you are a married couple, it is likely that you would not have to worry about the paternity claims of the sperm donor unless you were in the middle of a messy divorce.
Another treatment is In Vitro fertilization, where the egg and sperm are joined outside of the body and then implanted in the woman. Here, the issue would be if the egg used were donated by another woman. The law in Texas for maternity is exactly the same as paternity.
If these options have been not been successful, there are then options of surrogacy and adoption. These options have very different legal issues wrapped up with them, and will be discussed in later posts.
Good luck to the miracle mom with her delivery, and best of luck to those dealing with infertility, there are few things more difficult to go through.
- Searching for a Family Lawyer in Houston? (FindLaw)
- Questionnaire: Questions To Ask An Infertility Service (FindLaw)
- Giving Birth To Your Adopted Child (Chicago Family Law Blog)