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Texas woman caught in custody dispute over alleged surrogacy

In a number of cases, custody agreements are between a mother and a father. However, there is currently an unusual child custody battle in Texas between a mother-surrogate and two gay men. The emotional dispute has been ongoing for months and is now reportedly set to be brought to the attention of a judge, who will ultimately decide the legal and physical custody rights of the two children involved in the dispute.

The 48-year-old mother gave birth to twins in July at Texas Children's Medical Center. Shortly after, she was visited by a social worker, who said there was a surrogacy situation. The mother claimed she had no idea what the social worker was talking about, as she claimed she was not a surrogate.

According to the mother, the father of the twins, who said he would help her raise the children, scammed her. The man had paid for her in vitro fertilization utilizing his sperm and a donor egg, and as soon as the twins were born, he claimed he had sole child custody rights with his partner. The woman says that the two were never in a romantic relationship, and she was never under impression that the man was gay. She had no contract with the man, written or verbal she claims.

The mother is currently only able to see the twins six days a week for two hours each day. She has been sued, challenging the relationship that she has, and could have, with the children she gave birth to. The filing documentation alleges that because she has no genetic connection to the twins she has not parental rights to them. If the judge agrees with the sperm donor in this case and blocks the parental rights of the woman who gave birth to the twins, the ruling could throw into question the parental rights of any child born with the use of a donor egg.

Surrogacy child custody disputes are not uncommon, but this particular Texas custody case is bit unconventional. Regardless, a judge must take a number of factors into consideration when determining the physical and legal custody arrangements. The court will need to deem the intended parents fit to raise the twins, which is a common area of concern in conventional child custody disputes. Anyone involved in such a dispute would do well to educate themselves about their right to custody of their children.

Source: KHOU, "Judge to decide custody rights for surrogate twins," Nov. 5, 2012

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