A couple of months back, we wrote about the ongoing child custody dispute that was occurring in Texas. The case involved a surrogate mother whose right to child custody of a pair of twins was challenged by the sperm donor.
The sperm donor claimed that the woman was not legally the mother of the children. However, a Houston judge has ruled that the woman is the mother of the children and thus remains entitled to assert her parental rights to the children.
The judge refused to consider arguments that the woman was not the mother because she was only carrying donor eggs. "The family code of Texas matter-of-factly states that the mother and child relationship is established by giving birth to the child," the judge was quoted as saying. "The law says nothing about being genetically or biologically related. It's clear under state law that she's the mom just by giving birth."
Ordinarily, surrogate agreements govern these types of disputes. However, there was no surrogate agreement in force regarding the birth of these two children.
The babies currently have been living with the sperm donor that claims to be the father of the children. What happens next after this ruling is still to be determined.
Child custody matters involve much more than simple determinations of parentage. Courts generally consider what is in the best interest of the child when making determinations regarding child custody matters. The attorneys for each side involved in the custody suit will present arguments as to why their client is better suited in the role of a parent.
Source: Houston Chronicle, "Judge says woman is mother, not surrogate," by Renee C. Lee, Nov. 9, 2012