Artificial insemination, called assisted reproduction in Texas, has brought many interesting legal questions before the courts.

In a recent case being heard in Virginia, Joyce Rosemary Bruce v. Robert Preston Boardwine, the key issue was whether the man should be recognized as the biological father when insemination occurred using a turkey baster and not through intercourse or medical technology. The individuals were just friends and Joyce Bruce wanted to become a single mother. Robert Boardwine was her friend and agree to provide her with semen, which she inseminated using a turkey baster. They had no written agreement and Bruce assumed he would remain a friend with no greater significance in the life of her child than her other friends. However, Boardwine had other ideas and wanted to participate as a father would in making major decisions in the child’s upbringing. After Bruce rejected his participation, he initiated a lawsuit to fight for paternity. Bruce argued that he was a sperm donor and Boardwine argued he was the child’s father.

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The case went to appeal at the district court level, and the court ruled that Bruce was the biological father and had parental rights to the child. Bruce had tried artificial insemination under the care of a physician but failed to become pregnant, at which point she returned to the turkey baster method. After continued attempts, the turkey baster approach was successful and she conceived. The court based its ruling on the fact that the legal definition of artificial insemination requires the use of medical technology. Because medical technology was a missing element, the court ruled conception was not by artificial insemination. Despite the fact that the method of conception was unconventional, the court determined the man was the biological father.

Anyone dealing with fertility issues or trying to become a single parent by using assisted reproduction should seek legal counsel. It is vital to have an agreement in writing that follows the law. Gestational agreements in Texas offer legal protections, and our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates, can help you take proper measures to protect your parental rights.