Washington State Welcomes New Year with New Surrogacy Laws

This year marks the beginning of a new era for surrogacy in Washington, thanks to newly enacted legislation regarding the gestational surrogacy process.

Starting this month, intended parents and gestational carriers in Washington state will follow a set of standards and regulations that makes their surrogacy experience safer than ever before. While the state’s laws were severely anti-surrogacy prior to 2019, the new laws passed last year (and being enacted this month) provide a clear path ahead for those interested in gestational surrogacy.

So, what are the biggest changes that this new legislation brings? Find a breakdown of some of the most important points below:

1. Compensated surrogacy is now legal and enforceable.

Up until this month, compensated surrogacy in Washington was illegal. But, the passage of the Uniform Parentage Act last March changed all that. Today, intended parents and gestational carriers can enter into legally binding compensated surrogacy contracts for the benefit of all involved.

Washington contracts can now provide for surrogate “payment of consideration and reasonable expenses and reimbursement of specific expenses if the agreement is terminated.”

For more information about surrogate base compensation, contact our surrogacy specialists today.

2. Enforceable contracts must meet certain standards.

Following other states, Washington state requires intended parents and gestational carriers to meet certain requirements for their surrogacy contract to be legally enforceable.

In order for a woman to become a gestational carrier, she must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Previously have given birth to at least one child, but not have entered into more than two surrogacy agreements
  • Complete a medical evaluation
  • Complete a mental health consultation
  • Have independent legal representation

In order for intended parents to enter into a surrogacy contract, they must:

At least one party to the agreement must be a resident of Washington. The surrogate’s spouse must be a party to the agreement, and the agreement must be executed before any medical procedures can occur.

A legal gestational surrogacy contract will include:

  • The acknowledgement that a surrogate and her spouse have no claim to the child born
  • The acknowledgement that the intended parents will take custody of and responsibility for the child
  • Information on how the intended parents will cover the expenses of the carrier
  • Information on surrogate base compensation
  • And more

For more information on what a legal contract in this state requires, speak to a local Washington surrogacy attorney.

3. Both parents of children born via gestational carrier are treated as legal parents from the start.

The new legislation states “on birth of a child conceived by assisted reproduction under a gestational surrogacy agreement, each intended parent is, by operation of law, the parent of the child.” This means that all intended parents can receive pre-birth orders that will be enforced once the child is born.

This eliminates the complicated business of post-birth parentage orders and adoptions that some unrelated or unmarried intended parents previously had to complete in Washington.

4. Traditional surrogacy remains legal but with additional requirements.

Traditional surrogacy, denoted as “genetic surrogacy” in the new legislation, is available in Washington state. However, new stipulations have been established for intended parents and surrogates taking this route.

All traditional surrogacy contracts must meet the same standards as gestational surrogacy contracts. In addition to these terms, there are specific rules regarding termination of contracts. Intended parents may terminate the surrogacy contract any time prior to the embryo or gamete transfer. A traditional surrogate may withdraw consent any time before 48 hours after the birth of the child. When she does so, she waives all right to compensation, and her parental rights may be upheld, depending on the legal situation. However, she is not automatically assumed to be the legal parent of the child.

5. Children born of gamete donors have new rights.

The Uniform Parentage Act doesn’t just address surrogacy; it addresses many different aspects of assisted reproduction technology. Now, any child conceived by assisted reproduction has the right to request identifying information about their biological parent and/or notify their biological parent of their request. Even if the donor is anonymous, the child born of a gamete donation and their parent has the right to access non-identifying medical history.

American Surrogacy is thrilled to help intended parents and gestational carriers in Washington reach their surrogacy dreams under this new surrogacy-friendly legislation. For more information about working with our agency, or to start your surrogacy process today, please call 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

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