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Tennessee Surrogacy Law Overview

The Center for Surrogate Parenting walks you through Tennessee surrogacy law

Surrogacy is a beautiful family-building method. However, it can be complex, especially when it comes to the laws surrounding it. Thankfully, our experienced surrogacy agency is well-versed in the surrogacy laws of each state, including Tennessee surrogacy law. In fact, the Center for Surrogate Parenting (CSP) has completed several finalizations of parental rights in this state.

As the oldest surrogacy agency in the world, we have helped U.S. and international parents to welcome healthy babies with help from U.S. surrogates. We are proud to say that we have never experienced issues with intended parents being able to bring their babies home.

To help you learn more about Tennessee surrogacy law and how to create a surrogacy contract, we’ve included some basic information below. You can also contact us for more information.

    • Is a surrogacy contract valid and enforceable?

      There are no statutes or published case law specifically permitting or prohibiting surrogacy. Thus, surrogacy is not illegal and is thereby an accepted practice in the state.

    • Does the state have surrogacy laws and/or case law?

      Statutory law neither prohibits nor permits surrogacy, rather the statute merely defines surrogacy for purposes of the adoption code.

    • Are the courts typically favorable or unfavorable towards surrogacy arrangements?

      Tennessee courts treat surrogacy arrangements differently depending on the circumstances of the case, so whether the courts will be favorable or unfavorable will vary.

    • Is commercial surrogacy legal?

      Commercial surrogacy is legal in Tennessee and the intended parents are permitted to compensate the surrogate for her time and expenses. Such compensation is typically arranged for in a surrogacy contract.

    • Is traditional surrogacy permitted?

      Like gestational surrogacy, traditional surrogacy is neither statutorily permitted nor prohibited, thus it is technically legal. Moreover, the Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that the courts may consider the terms of a traditional surrogacy contract as a factor in determining what the bests interest of the child are. However, no pre-birth orders are allowed because the court also held that the parental rights of a traditional surrogate shall not be terminated prior to the child’s birth but must instead be treated like, and determined pursuant to, an adoption.

    • Is gestational surrogacy allowed?


    • What are the requirements for an enforceable surrogacy contract?

      Since Tennessee does not have a statutory rule on this, there is not a specific set of guidelines for when a judge may uphold the validity of a surrogacy arrangement. Parties should be advised to articulate their intentions, desires, roles and responsibilities as clearly and specifically as possible in order to provide proper framework for dispute resolution should an issue arise.

      Generally, the intended parents and surrogate must have independent legal counsel and meet specific requirements. The agreement should also include provisions that discuss the legal, financial, and contractual rights, expectations, penalties and obligations of the surrogacy agreement.

    • Are pre-birth and post-birth orders permitted?

      A pre-birth order is only possible when at least one of the intended parents shares a genetic connection with the child. Only the genetically related parent will be named on the parentage order. The non-genetic parent will be required to complete a second-parent or stepparent adoption after the child is born.

    • Can both intended parents be declared the legal parents?

      Yes, but only if the intended parents are a heterosexual married or unmarried couple who are both genetically related to the child (meaning that no egg or sperm donor was used). If the parents used an egg donor, Tennessee only permits the genetic father to be named on a pre-birth order and the non-genetic mother (or father) will be required to complete a post-birth adoption in order to be named thereafter.

    • Will the state honor a pre-birth order issued by another state?

      Yes, but only if it complies with Tennessee’s policy on parentage orders. For example, an intended mother may only be named as the legal mother if she is genetically related to the child.

    • What do intended parents need to know about getting the baby’s birth certificate?

      The intended parents will receive the birth certificate approximately one week after the child’s birth. Same-sex parents will be named as Father and Father or Mother and Mother.

      Gay international couples can obtain an initial birth certificate that names the biological father and surrogate. They cannot obtain an initial birth certificate that names the biological father only. They can subsequently obtain an amended birth certificate that names only the biological father or both fathers, with no mention of the surrogate.

    • Are post-birth adoptions permitted?

      Intended parents who are unable to obtain a parentage order will be required to complete a post-birth adoption in order to obtain and secure their legal parental rights. Specifically, a post-birth adoption will be necessary when only one or neither parent is genetically related to the child. However, only married intended parents can file for adoption in Tennessee because the state only allows for stepparent adoptions and does not permit second parent adoptions.

    • Are second-parent adoptions permitted?

      Second-parent adoptions are not permitted in Tennessee and so unmarried intended parents will be required to pursue a second-parent adoption outside the state in order to secure his or her legal parental rights.

    • Are stepparent adoptions permitted?

      Stepparent adoptions are permitted and are available to married couples.

VorzimerMasserman Disclaimer: This is a summary for informational use only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. Please note that the state laws regarding surrogacy frequently change and vary from county to county. The attorneys of VorzimerMasserman are only licensed in California. VorzimerMasserman shall not be responsible for any liability associated with this list.