Tennessee Surrogacy Laws
In Tennessee, both gestational surrogacy and traditional (genetic) surrogacy, are defined by a statute in the adoption code (Tennessee Code Ann. §36-1-102(50). While the statute neither expressly permits or prohibits either form of surrogacy, parentage can be established for a child born through gestational surrogacy, so long as at least one Intended Parent is genetically related to the child.
Tennessee has a number of cases that address surrogacy and govern the applicability of Tennessee’s statute defining surrogacy, and also provide predictability in the use of certain procedures to establish parentage dependent upon the circumstances of the case. In general, a pre-birth order may be obtained in Tennessee for an Intended Parent who is genetically related to the child; a non-genetic parent (who is married to the genetic parent) must complete a related-parent adoption after the child is born.
Types of Surrogacy Available in Tennessee
Can a parentage order be obtained for the following?
Who can be declared as the parent(s) of a child from a surrogate via a court parentage order?
– Both Intended Parent(s) can be named on the parentage order.
– Only a genetic Intended Parent can be named on the parentage order. A non-genetic Intended Parent will need to establish parentage via a second or stepparent adoption following birth.
Tennessee only grants parentage orders to Intended Parent(s) with a genetic connection to their child. Intended Parent(s) without a genetic connection, who are married to a genetic parent, will have to establish their parentage through a related parent adoption following the birth of the child. Home studies are usually not necessary.
*For parents that are unmarried – the non-genetic parent would need to apply for a second-parent adoption in another state that allows for this situation.
If there is no genetic connection to a child, Intended Parent(s) can only establish parentage via adoption proceedings following the child’s birth. In these cases, there may be additional requirements as per the Tennessee adoption code. Since there is no genetic connection to the child, it may be required for the Intended Parents to apply for adoption in another state.
How are Intended Parent(s) Listed on the Birth Certificate?
Intended Parent(s) may be listed as Father-Mother.
Rights of Egg or Sperm Donor(s)
There are no statutes or case law in Tennessee that address the rights of an egg, sperm, or embryo donor over the donated gametes or a resulting child.
Surrogacy Steps in Tennessee
Surrogacy Process in Tennessee
Birth Certificate Timeline
A pre-birth Order of Parentage will be issued for Intended Parent(s) that are genetically related. They are established as the legal parents and are listed on the child’s birth certificate.
When an Intended Parent is not genetically related to the child, and is married to a genetic parent, an adoption shortly after the birth is necessary to establish the non-genetic parent’s parentage.
For parents that are unmarried, the non-genetic parent would need to apply for a second-parent adoption in another state that allows for this situation.
Legal and medical steps involved in the surrogacy process may differ from case to case. Please speak with your agency and attorneys about how the process might look for you.
Although pre-birth orders are recognized and given according to genetic connection, surrogacy contracts in Tennessee are not enforced by the state.
Independent counsel is recommended, but not required, for all parties involved in a surrogacy agreement.
Requirements for Surrogates and Intended Parent(s)
Hearings are often required for birth orders. Appearance may be waived for out-of-state and international Intended Parent(s).
Bases of Venue
International Intended Parent(s) will have additional legal steps to complete before their return home regarding their country’s immigration and citizen laws that impact the child. It’s imperative the international Intended Parent(s) speak with an experienced attorney in their home country about the facts of their situation. The law of more than one country will need to be considered if the Intended Parent(s) are citizens or residents of more than one country.
Passports are regulated at the federal level in the United States. To learn more about the process of receiving a US passport, visit Travel.State.gov.
Midwest Fertility Law Group, PLC
740 Southwest Drive
Jonesboro, Arkansas 72401
Assisted with 2023 Updates
The Odeneal Firm
411 West Gaines Street
Lawrenceburg, TN 38464
Adoption Law Center, PLLC
3102 West End Ave, St. 400
Nashville, TN 37203
The content contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only. Content contained herein may or may not reflect the most current legal information on the subject; accordingly, this website is not promised to be correct or complete at any given time. Outcomes referenced should not be interpreted as an indication of future outcomes. Love & Kindness Surrogacy explicitly disclaims all liability for actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this website.
This website does not constitute a replacement for legal advice or counsel. Always consult an attorney before beginning the surrogacy process.
Last updated May 2023