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GESTATIONAL SURROGACY IN MISSOURI

Do courts grant pre-birth parentage orders?  No. Missouri currently follows the old Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) on artificial insemination, which permits a petition to be filed before the birth, but requires any court order to wait until after the birth. Parties may request a preliminary hearing to resolve issues regarding parentage before the birth so that a parentage order may be signed soon after birth.  Through this methodology, attorneys have been successful in establishing parentage of children born in Missouri by surrogacy.

POST-BIRTH PARENTAGE ORDERS

Can both Intended Parents be declared the legal parents in a post-birth parentage order if at least one parent is genetically related to the child?

  • Married heterosexual couple using own egg and own sperm: Yes
  • Married heterosexual couple using an egg donor or sperm donor: Yes
  • Unmarried heterosexual couple using own egg and own sperm: Unclear
  • Unmarried heterosexual couple using an egg donor or sperm donor: Unlikely
  • Same-sex couple using an egg donor or sperm donor: Depends on the county. Most likely yes, however, it has not been tested.
  • Single parent using own egg or sperm: Yes

Can both Intended Parents be declared the legal parents in a post-birth order if no parent is genetically related to the child?

  • Married heterosexual couple: Unclear, but likely
  • Unmarried heterosexual couple: Unlikely
  • Same-sex couple: Likely, but untested.
  • Single parent: Varies by case, but likely.

What are the bases for venue?  County of the Gestational Carrier’s residence, county of the Intended Parents’ residence, or county “where the alleged father may be found.”
 
Do results vary by venue?  Yes 
 
Is a hearing required to obtain a post-birth order?  No. A hearing is not required, but some judges prefer to hold a hearing either before or after the birth to take testimony from some of the parties.
 
Will Missouri Vital Records honor a pre-birth order?
 Yes  
 
What is the typical time frame to obtain a birth certificate after delivery?  It varies, but typically 2 weeks in a surrogacy case. The post-birth court order must precede the birth certificate application.

Same-Sex Couples

How are same-sex parents named on the final birth certificate?  Parent and Parent
 
Can an international same-sex male couple obtain an initial birth certificate naming the biological father and Gestational Carrier?
 Yes, so long as a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity is signed.   
 
Can they subsequently obtain a birth certificate naming only the biological father or both fathers, with no mention of the Gestational Carrier?  Yes   
 
Can the non-biological parent in a same-sex couple obtain a second parent adoption based solely on the fact that the child was born in Missouri?  Likely, but untested.
 
If no, will Missouri Vital Records honor a second parent adoption order from another state and add the second parent to the birth certificate?  Yes

SECOND PARENT ADOPTIONS FOR MISSOURI RESIDENTS

Note: This situation typically arises if the child is born outside of the state.  The parents then return to Missouri to obtain a second parent adoption or stepparent adoption in Missouri.

Will courts in Missouri grant second parent adoptions or stepparent adoptions to heterosexual couples living in Missouri?  Sometimes. The law allows it, but it is at the discretion of the judge.

Does the couple need to be married? No
 
Will courts in Missouri grant second parent adoptions or stepparent adoptions to same-sex couples who live in Missouri? Sometimes. The law allows it, but it is at the discretion of the judge.

Does the couple need to be married?  No.

EGG AND SPERM DONATION

Is there a statute or published case law that addresses the rights of a donor over the resulting eggs, sperm, embryo or child?  Yes. Under Missouri’s version of the old UPA, Mo. Ann. Stat. § 210.824, the donor of sperm provided to a physician is treated as if he were not the natural father of the child.
 
If the statute only refers to sperm donors, is there published case law interpreting this statute to provide the same protection in the egg donor context?  Yes, in White v. White (2009), the court held that the statute applies equally to an egg donor.

TRADITIONAL SURROGACY IN MISSOURI

Traditional Surrogacy agreements are permitted in Missouri, but the non-biological parent may be subject to adoption-related restrictions such as 6-month waiting period and criminal background checks. If the Intended Father is genetically linked to the child, the Traditional Surrogate and the Intended Father complete a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, which allows the Intended Father’s name to go directly onto the birth certificate.The Intended Mother may then file a parentage action or adoption (not recommended) or some hybrid of the two.

State law information provided by the following attorneys practicing Reproductive Law in this state:
 
Mary Beck
BeckM@missouri.edu
(573) 446-7554
 
Joanna Beck Wilkinson
Joanna@MaryBeckLaw.com
(314) 962-0292

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