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Surrogacy Law in Tennessee

Tennessee Surrogacy Law: Types of Surrogacy

In Tennessee, gestational surrogacy is neither allowed nor disallowed by Tenn. Code Ann. §36-1-102(50).  It defines surrogacy as comprising two situations: 1) gestational surrogacy where both intended parents furnish the gametes and 2) gestational surrogacy where the intended father furnishes the sperm and the surrogate relinquishes the child to him and his wife. Accordingly, the Gestational Carrier is considered the legal parent unless the parents both use their own egg and own sperm.

Traditional (genetic) surrogacy, like gestational surrogacy, is defined, but neither expressly allowed nor disallowed in the Tennessee Code. In 2014, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of In Re: Baby (447 S.W.3d 807), holding that the parental rights of traditional surrogates could not be terminated prior to the birth of the child but must, instead, be addressed like the parental rights of any other woman giving birth to her own genetic child.

Are There Surrogate Requirements in Tennessee?

No specific legal requirements exist to serve as a gestational surrogate in the state of Tennessee.

Does Tennessee Surrogacy Law Allow for Pre-Birth Orders?

Parentage Orders: Courts in Tennessee do grant pre-birth orders for Intended Parents genetically related to the child.

The conditions under which intended parents could be declared legal parents with a pre-birth order if at least one parent is genetically related to the child are listed below:


Married heterosexual couples, using their own egg and own sperm
Unmarried heterosexual couples, using their own egg and own sperm
Same sex couples, using an egg or sperm donor
Single father, using his own sperm and donor egg.


For intended parents who are in no way genetically related to the resulting child, the conditions under which intended parents could be declared legal parents with a pre-birth order are listed below:




Whose names go on the birth certificate in Tennessee?

Parents will be listed on the birth certificate as “father and father” or “mother and mother.” The incorrect term is blacked out, and both the correction and the corrected term will remain on the birth certificate.

An international same-sex male couple can obtain a birth certificate listing the biological father and gestational carrier as parents. A later amended version can list the two fathers as the legal parents after an adoption occurs.  For international couples, we are often able to obtain a Final Decree of Adoption within two weeks of the birth of the child.  Intended Parents that live in another state in the U.S. typically go home with their baby and complete the adoption in their home state.  Tennessee will seal the original birth certificate and issue a new one with the parents’ names.

Surrogacy Conditions for Same-Sex Couples in Tennessee

Married same-sex couples are treated the same as heterosexual couples in which one Intended Parent is the genetic parent.  A Pre-Birth Order of Parentage will establish parentage of the intended parent that is also the genetic parent.  The intended parent that is not genetically related to the child must adopt after the child’s birth to establish parentage and be identified on the child’s birth certificate.

Are There Options for Unmarried Intended Parents in the state of Tennessee?

Single intended parents can obtain a Pre-Birth Order of Parentage if they are genetically related to the child.  Initially, the Gestational Carrier will be listed on the child’s birth certificate but can be removed after birth by disestablishing her parentage via court order.

Egg Donation Law

Tennessee has no case law or statutes to govern a donor’s rights to children resulting from a surrogacy agreement.  Anonymous egg donations are often used to form embryos with the Intended Father’s sperm.  For couples, in addition to obtaining a Pre-Birth Order of Parentage, an adoption is necessary to establish the relationship between the spouse and the child.  For single parents, the Gestational Carrier’s name will appear on the child’s birth certificate until the Intended Father obtains an Order disestablishing the parental rights of the Gestational Carrier.

State law information verified by the following (ART) Assisted Reproductive Law attorney licensed in Tennessee*

Jenny Hall
Adoption Law Center, PLLC
3102 West End Ave., Ste. 400
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-543-8640                                                                                                                                                     https://www.adoptmidtn.com

Julia Tate
TN Baby Law
P.O. Box 11453
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Phone: 615.310.2831


* This information is for general informational purposes only and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. We strongly recommend retaining legal counsel, knowledgeable of reproductive law in the state.