Tennessee Surrogacy Laws
Tennessee’s approach to surrogacy differs from that of the rest of the country. The current statute (Tennessee Code Ann. §36-1-102(50)) governing surrogacy neither permits nor prohibits surrogacy, but instead defines it.
Moreover, there is little case law to provide instruction on surrogacy proceedings. The case law that does exist provides limited instruction for the courts. The Gestational Carrier is considered the legal parent unless the parents both use their own egg and own sperm. This stems from In re C.K.G., in which the Supreme Court of Tennessee ruled that if an egg donor is used, the Gestational Carrier must remain on the birth certificate until the genetically unrelated Intended Parent adopts the child. The Intended Parent(s) will then replace the Gestational Carrier on the birth certificate.
Types of Surrogacy Available in Tennessee
Can a parentage order be obtained for the following?
Although traditional surrogacy isn’t prohibited in Tennessee, many attorneys and agencies advise against it due to the increased legal risks. The state of TN feels uncomfortable providing a judgment for a parentage order under a traditional surrogacy. When the surrogate uses her own eggs, she is the legal and biological mother pending a formal adoption process after the birth.
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 will have to establish parentage through a relative adoption. Depending on kinship, there may be procedural variations on adoption and home studies may or may not be necessary.
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.
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, an adoption shortly after the birth is necessary to establish parentage. An Intended Father that is unmarried can have the Gestational Carrier removed from the child’s birth certificate by disestablishing her parentage after the birth. Proceedings begin after the first trimester.
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.
Surrogacy contracts in Tennessee are recognized and 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)
Pre-birth orders are issued under limited circumstances in Tennessee.
Hearings are often required for birth orders. Appearance may be waived for out-of-state and international Intended Parents.
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.
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 October 2019