Houston parents commonly use advanced medical techniques to conceive children. The most common technique is in vitro fertilization, or IVF, in which the father’s semen is implanted in the mother’s vagina during ovulation. Many couples have been able to conceive children using this technique and have been happy with the outcome, but unhappy results also occur. A married but separated couple in Lakeway, Texas is disputing the man’s right to assert the rights of a father over a young child conceived using IVF.
The couple married in 2004 and separated in 2012. Before the separation, the couple conceived a daughter using IVF techniques. The girl is now seven years old. The wife filed a petition for divorce in 2013 but never followed up, and the couple is still legally married. After the separation, she began another IVF procedure using an anonymous sperm donor. She subsequently gave birth to a boy in 2015. In 2016, the woman’s spouse filed court documents denying that he is the boy’s father. The situation might have settled but for the existence of a Texas statute regarding presumed fatherhood.
That statute says that if a child is born during a legal marriage, then the husband is deemed to be the child’s legal father. In this case, though, the husband has changed his mind regarding paternity and is asserting fatherhood rights over the young boy. The only way to resolve the controversy is to have the alleged father submit to a DNA test. The husband was ordered to complete a DNA test not later than December 23, but no results have been released.
The case will probably be resolved in early January after the court has had the opportunity to review the DNA tests. Meanwhile, the mother is required to allow her husband access to the little boy.
Issues pertaining to paternity, child custody, and fathers’ rights can be enormously complicated, as this case highlights. This is why consulting with an experienced family law professional may prove beneficial for those who are confronting these matters.