Georgia Same-Sex Marriage, Artificial Insemination, Embyro Transfer, Surrogacy and Adoption Law

Georgia Same-Sex Marriage, Artificial Insemination, Embyro Transfer, Surrogacy and Adoption Law

 
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Wikimedia commonsGeorgia Laws on Same-Sex Marriage, Artificial Insemination, Embryo Transfer, Surrogacy and Adoption

 

Same-Sex Marriage

Georgia does not recognize same-sex marriage. A constitutional amendment passed in 2004 defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman. (Reference: Human Rights Campaign)

Georgia Code Current Through the 2013 Regular Session, Title 19 Domestic Relations

§ 19-3-3.1.  Marriages between persons of same sex prohibited; marriages not recognized
(a) It is declared to be the public policy of this state to recognize the union only of man and woman. Marriages between persons of the same sex are prohibited in this state.
(b) No marriage between persons of the same sex shall be recognized as entitled to the benefits of marriage. Any marriage entered into by persons of the same sex pursuant to a marriage license issued by another state or foreign jurisdiction or otherwise shall be void in this state. Any contractual rights granted by virtue of such license shall be unenforceable in the courts of this state and the courts of this state shall have no jurisdiction whatsoever under any circumstances to grant a divorce or separate maintenance with respect to such marriage or otherwise to consider or rule on any of the parties' respective rights arising as a result of or in connection with such marriage.

Artificial Insemination
               
Georgia law presumes that only married couples will use artificial insemination.  (Reference: Human Rights Campaign.) As same sex marriage is not permitted, this implies that gay women do not have access to artificial insemination.

The law allows only licensed physicians or surgeons to perform artificial insemination on a woman. It is a felony for anyone else to attempt to perform artificial insemination.  As long as the husband and wife consent to the insemination in writing, the physician or surgeon is not responsible for the results of the insemination, as long as he does not behave negligently.

Georgia Code Current Through the 2013 Regular Session, Title 43 Professions and Business

§ 43-34-37. Persons authorized to perform artificial insemination; civil liability of physician or surgeon  
(a) Physicians and surgeons licensed to practice medicine in accordance with and under this article shall be the only persons authorized to administer or perform artificial insemination upon any female human being. Any other person or persons who shall attempt to administer or perform or who shall actually administer or perform artificial insemination upon any female human being shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary for not less than one year nor more than five years.
(b) Any physician or surgeon who obtains written authorization signed by both the husband and the wife authorizing him or her to perform or administer artificial insemination shall be relieved of civil liability to the husband and wife or to any child conceived by artificial insemination for the result or results of said artificial insemination, provided that the written authorization provided for in this Code section shall not relieve any physician or surgeon from any civil liability arising from his or her own negligent administration or performance of artificial insemination.

If a married couple has a child by artificial insemination, the child is considered their legitimate child, as long as both spouses consented in writing to the insemination. The child is entitled to inheritances from the married couple and the couple's relatives.

Georgia Code Current Through the 2013 Regular Session, Title 19 Domestic Relations

§ 19-7-21.  When children conceived by artificial insemination legitimate.  All children born within wedlock or within the usual period of gestation thereafter who have been conceived by means of artificial insemination are irrebuttably presumed legitimate if both spouses have consented in writing to the use and administration of artificial insemination.

Georgia Code Current Through the 2013 Regular Session, Title 53 Wills, Trusts and Dissemination of Estates

§ 53-2-5. Children conceived by artificial insemination. An individual conceived by artificial insemination and presumed legitimate in accordance with Code Section 19-7-21 shall be considered a child of the parents and entitled to inherit under the laws of intestacy from the parents and from relatives of the parents, and the parents and relatives of the parents shall likewise be entitled to inherit as heirs from and through such individual.

Embryo Transfer

Under Georgia's Option of Adoption law, embryo transfer is considered an act of adoption. This implies that the law considers the embryo a person.

Georgia Code Current Through the 2013 Regular Session, Title 19 Domestic Relations
Article 2 Option of Adoption

§ 19-8-41.  Release of responsibility by legal embryo custodian; procedures; presumption of parentage
 (a) A legal embryo custodian may relinquish all rights and responsibilities for an embryo to a recipient intended parent prior to embryo transfer. A written contract shall be entered into between each legal embryo custodian and each recipient intended parent prior to embryo transfer for the legal transfer of rights to an embryo and to any child that may result from the embryo transfer. The contract shall be signed by each legal embryo custodian for such embryo and by each recipient intended parent in the presence of a notary public and a witness. Initials or other designations may be used if the parties desire anonymity. The contract may include a written waiver by the legal embryo custodian of notice and service in any legal adoption or other parentage proceeding which may follow.
(b) If the embryo was created using donor gametes, the sperm or oocyte donors who irrevocably relinquished their rights in connection with in vitro fertilization shall not be entitled to any notice of the embryo relinquishment, nor shall their consent to the embryo relinquishment be required.
(c) Upon embryo relinquishment by each legal embryo custodian pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section, the legal transfer of rights to an embryo shall be considered complete, and the embryo transfer shall be authorized.
(d) A child born to a recipient intended parent as the result of embryo relinquishment pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section shall be presumed to be the legal child of the recipient intended parent; provided that each legal embryo custodian and each recipient intended parent has entered into a written contract.
§ 19-8-42.  Petition for expedited order of adoption or parentage; notice; waiver of technical requirements
 (a) Prior to the birth of a child or following the birth of a child, a recipient intended parent may petition the superior court for an expedited order of adoption or parentage. In such cases, the written contract between each legal embryo custodian and each recipient intended parent shall be acceptable in lieu of a surrender of rights.
(b) All petitions under this article shall be filed in the county in which any petitioner or any respondent resides.
(c) The court shall give effect to any written waiver of notice and service in the legal proceeding for adoption or parentage.
(d) In the interest of justice, to promote the stability of embryo transfers, and to promote the interests of children who may be born following such embryo transfers, the court in its discretion may waive such technical requirements as the court deems just and proper.
§ 19-8-43.  Finality of orders of adoption or parentage
Upon a filing of a petition for adoption or parentage and the court finding that such petition meets the criteria required by this article, an expedited order of adoption or parentage shall be issued and shall be a final order. Such order shall terminate any future parental rights and responsibilities of any past or present legal embryo custodian or gamete donor in a child which results from the embryo transfer and shall vest such rights and responsibilities in the recipient intended parent.

Surrogacy

Georgia law does not mention surrogacy.

Same-Sex Adoption

Georgia law allows any single adult over 25 or any married adult to adopt.  It is unclear whether joint or second parent adoptions would be allowed for same-sex couples or whether children could be adopted by gay or transgender individuals.

Georgia Code Current Through the 2013 Regular Session, Title 19 Domestic Relations

§ 19-8-3.  Who may adopt a child; when petition must be filed in names of both spouses
(a) Any adult person may petition to adopt a child if the person:
(1) Is at least 25 years of age or is married and living with his spouse;
(2) Is at least ten years older than the child;
(3) Has been a bona fide resident of this state for at least six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition; and
(4) Is financially, physically, and mentally able to have permanent custody of the child.
(b) Any adult person, including but not limited to a foster parent, meeting the requirements of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be eligible to apply to the department or a child-placing agency for consideration as an adoption applicant in accordance with the policies of the department or the agency.
(c) If a person seeking to adopt a child is married, the petition must be filed in the name of both spouses; provided, however, that, when the child is the stepchild of the party seeking to adopt, the petition shall be filed by the stepparent alone.

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