In the Interest of C. B., a child.
transfer; order of parentage. Clayton Superior Court. Before
Moran, Teresa A. Mann; Lawson & Thornton, George O. Lawson,
Jr., for appellant.
Farrey & Associates, O. Anene Farrey, for appellee.
Judges: MCFADDEN, Chief Judge. McMillian, P.
J., and Senior Appellate Judge Herbert E. Phipps concur.
McFadden, Chief Judge.
their marriage, Winston and Tonya Barksdale had a child
through in vitro fertilization (IVF). They used an egg (also
called an oocyte) from an anonymous donor, which was
fertilized with Winston Barksdale's sperm and then placed
in the uterus of Tonya Barksdale, who gave birth to the
child. Later, in divorce proceedings before the Superior
Court of Fulton County, Winston Barksdale asserted that Tonya
Barksdale was not entitled to custody of the child because
she was not the child's biological, legal, or adoptive
parent. Tonya Barksdale then petitioned for and obtained, in
a separate proceeding before the Superior Court of Clayton
County, an "order of parentage" declaring that she
was the child's legal parent.
is Winston Barksdale's discretionary appeal from the
order of parentage and the trial court's denial of his
subsequent motion for a new trial or, alternatively, to set
aside that order. He argues that the trial court erred in
issuing the order of parentage pursuant to the Option of
Adoption Act, OCGA � 19-8-40 et seq., but we find that
the Option of Adoption Act applies to this case and
authorized the order. He argues that the Clayton County court
should have transferred the case to the Fulton County court
as part of the parties' divorce proceedings rather than
exercising jurisdiction over the petition, but we find that
the trial court's exercise of jurisdiction was
appropriate. Finally, he argues he was not given proper
notice of the order-of-parentage proceeding because Tonya
Barksdale did not identify him as a respondent in her
petition, but we find no abuse of discretion in the trial
court's decision not to grant a new trial or set aside
the order for this reason. So we affirm.
The Option of Adoption Act authorized
the trial court to issue the order of parentage.
Option of Adoption Act provides a means of
establishing the legal parentage of a child resulting from an
embryo transfer, which is[353 Ga.App. 364] a “ key
component of IVF,” Patton v. Vanterpool, 302
Ga. 253, 257 (806 S.E.2d 493) (2017), and which the
Act defines as “ the medical procedure of
physically placing an embryo into the uterus of a
female.” OCGA � 19-8-40 (3). The Act provides
circumstances under which a “ recipient intended parent
may petition the superior court for an expedited order of
adoption or parentage.” OCGA � 19-8-42 (a). If the
meets the criteria required by [the Option of Adoption
Act ], 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
OCGA � 19-8-43. The Act gives the trial court
discretion to determine if the criteria for an order are met,
providing that “ [i]n 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