In Vitro Fertilization, it is the miracle that many parents prayed for when they were not successful conceiving a child naturally. Generally, IVF does not raise many parental identity issues because it is very clear where the egg comes from, the sperm comes from, and who actually gives birth to the child.
However, when a man is not married to the woman going through IVF and the child is not genetically his, a paternity challenge could arise. Something like this happened in California. Tracey Smith and Gregory Carr were dating, with Carr financing a lavish lifestyle for the two. While they were involved, Carr paid for Smith's IVF treatment, according to Courthouse News Service. Two rounds of IVF did not work, but Carr proposed that the two get married and promised to financially support her for life.
Smith accepted the proposal and underwent a third IVF cycle before Carr abruptly cut off the engagement, according to Courthouse News. Smith claimed in a lawsuit that Carr promised to financially support the child that resulted. Could Carr be responsible for the child?
There are really only two ways that Carr could be financially responsible. One is if he is the natural, adoptive, or presumed father of the child. The other is if he signed a binding contract to financially support the child.
In Texas, a man is a father if he is the genetic father of a child, there is a court order naming him the father, or he files an acknowledgment of paternity.
A man is presumed to be the father of the child if he is married to the mother when the child is born, was married to the woman during any of the 300 days before the child was born, married the mother after the child was born and voluntarily claimed paternity, or continuously represented himself as the child's father while living with the child for the child's first two years of life.
Here, Smith filed a lawsuit claiming that Carr had entered into a contract with her to take care of the child, according to Courthouse News. However, her lawsuit failed because the contract she claimed to exist was not enforceable because there was nothing she offered in return for his promise.
If you are considering IVF and you are not married, just be careful to know exactly what you are getting into as far as financial support. There are resources in the FindLaw Answers community, as well as local family law attorneys that can help you.
- SB 785 Allows Fathers to Challenge Paternity (FindLaw's Houston Family Law Blog)
- Wrong Embryo: IVF Mixup Changes Woman's Life (FindLaw's Injured)
- Miracle Mom Having Twins at 42; What if You Deal with Infertility? (FindLaw's Houston Family Law Blog)