Court Freezes Assets in Houston Surrogacy Escrow Account Scandal

Shackelford complaint labels business, owners as ‘nothing short of evil’

HOUSTON – Attorneys at Shackelford, McKinley & Norton, LLP, have filed a lawsuit against an escrow fund for surrogate mothers after one mom-to-be received notice her account – with more than $60,000 in it – now has a zero balance.

Hundreds of surrogates and intended parents are without prenatal funds managed by Surrogacy Escrow Account Management (SEAM) and its owner, Dominique Side.

“Many of these families have struggled with infertility for years and this is yet another blow to their finances and emotional well-being,” said Shackelford partner Marianne Robak, who filed the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, couples including Ms. Robak’s client and her husband, deposited thousands of dollars to pay for their surrogate’s medical expenses and fees into a SEAM-managed escrow account. SEAM was responsible for holding the funds, reviewing the surrogate’s expenses and disbursing the money in accordance with the terms of the surrogacy agreement.

Earlier this month, SEAM sent a notice to parents saying it was having “significant issues” with its bank, that all SEAM accounts were put on hold and that the bank was setting up new accounts. But two accounts that should be holding the plaintiff’s money appear to have nothing in them.

In addition, the lawsuit details public filings that show Side may have recently pledged a portion of the escrow funds to two different lenders in exchange for cash. Subsequently, those payments failed and both companies are also suing SEAM and Side over the missing funds.

“Defendants’ actions are nothing short of evil,” the lawsuit declares.

In June, Side deleted all her social media accounts and many of her business websites. SEAM has indicated its staff is no longer employed.

A Harris County judge has issued a temporary restraining order, freezing the escrow agency’s assets, as well as any bank accounts belonging to Side and her business partner, Anthony Hall, that may hold escrow funds. The order also freezes the operations of a new entity Side’s business partner recently formed.

The case is Marieke Slik v Surrogacy Escrow Account Management, LLC D/B/A SEAM, LLC, et al., Cause no. 2024-39298 in Harris County District Court.

About Shackelford, McKinley & Norton, LLP
Shackelford, McKinley & Norton, LLP, is a transactional, litigation, aviation, and entertainment law firm with attorneys and offices in Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, and New Orleans.

Media Contact:
Alyssa Woulfe


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