Is surrogacy legal in Washington? What are the surrogacy laws in Washington? Can I be a surrogate or an intended parent in this state?
If you’re considering surrogacy in Washington, these are probably a few of the questions you are asking yourself. You know how important it is to understand this life-changing process before you commit to it, and asking questions is the first step to finding out if it’s the right path for you.
Before you begin a surrogacy in Washington, you should know one thing: Surrogacy in Washington cannot be compensated. Therefore, every intended parent and surrogate in this state must be comfortable with an altruistic surrogacy if they choose to pursue this path.
Still interested? Find out more about surrogacy laws in Washington below to help you determine whether this is the right choice for your family.
Q: Is surrogacy legal in Washington?
A: Surrogacy is legal in Washington for intended parents and surrogates but only if they follow certain legal restrictions and regulations. Only altruistic, compassionate gestational surrogacy contracts are permitted in Washington.
Intended parents cannot obtain pre-birth orders, and there are regulations regarding who can obtain a post-birth order versus an adoption after birth.
Because of the complications involved with surrogacy in Washington, intended parents and surrogates in this state must work with an experienced surrogacy attorney from the beginning of their process to obtain the proper legal protection.
Q: Is compensated surrogacy legal in Washington?
A: No. Any commercial surrogacy contract in Washington is declared void and unenforceable. Anyone involved in a commercial surrogacy is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
Q: Is traditional surrogacy legal in Washington?
A: This is unclear. Washington surrogacy laws only address the legality of gestational surrogacy contracts. Traditional surrogacy may come with potential risks and liabilities, so speak with a local Washington surrogacy attorney for more information on this family-building process.
Q: What does a surrogacy agreement in Washington cover, and how does the legal process work?
A: There are no surrogacy laws in Washington regarding the creation of surrogacy contracts, although all contracts must be altruistic in nature. In addition, no minors or women diagnosed with an intellectual disability, a mental illness or a developmental disability can serve as a surrogate in Washington.
If these terms are met, a Washington surrogacy attorney can negotiate a surrogacy contract that addresses the needs and expectations of both parties. A surrogate and her intended parents must be represented by separate surrogacy attorneys, who will work together to create a surrogacy contract that includes topics like:
- The rights and responsibilities of each party
- The potential risks and liabilities for each party
- Financial information, like coverage of medical expenses and surrogacy insurance
- Steps for establishing the intended parents’ rights to their child after birth
- Contact expectations before, during and after the surrogacy
- And more
After your Washington surrogacy contract is complete, you and your surrogacy partner can begin the medical process of surrogacy in Washington.
Q: Are surrogacy contracts (whether compensated or altruistic) enforceable in Washington?
A: Yes. As long as surrogacy contracts meet all the requirements stated by Washington surrogacy laws, they are enforceable in a Washington court of law.
Q: What are the surrogacy laws in Washington on parentage orders?
A: Intended parents cannot obtain a pre-birth order in a Washington surrogacy, regardless of their genetic connection to the baby or their marital status. Instead, parentage in this state is established after the birth of the child, either through an affidavit and a physician’s certificate form, a post-birth order, or an adoption.
Post-birth parentage orders are typically available to all intended parents with at least one genetic connection to the child born via surrogacy in Washington. However, unmarried couples are advised to utilize a court order.
Parents with no genetic connection to their child born via surrogacy may be able to obtain a post-birth order, but some courts in Washington are more accustomed to completing an adoption after birth in these situations.
Again, please speak with an experienced surrogacy attorney in Washington for guidance on what legal steps will be needed for your circumstances.
Q: Are there any particular laws for parents outside the U.S. who complete a surrogacy in Washington?
A: No. There are no specific surrogacy laws in Washington that apply to international intended parents.
Q: When do intended parents need to complete an adoption after birth?
A: As mentioned, intended parents who have no genetic connection to their child born via surrogacy may need to complete an adoption after birth, depending on the court overseeing their Washington surrogacy case.
It’s also recommended that same-sex intended parents complete an adoption to protect their rights in other states and countries that may not recognize their post-birth parentage order.
Q: Does Washington allow second-parent adoptions? Who would need to complete a second-parent adoption vs. a stepparent adoption (if applicable)?
A: Yes, Washington does allow second-parent adoptions. Therefore, an unmarried couple of intended parents can complete this type of adoption if they can’t obtain a post-birth parentage order, while a married couple can complete a stepparent adoption.
Q: What happens in cases where intended parents use a donor egg, sperm or embryo?
A: Usually, intended parents who complete a surrogacy with a donor gamete can obtain a post-birth parentage order or use an affidavit from their physician to establish their rights to their child.
Washington statutes also specify that “a donor is not a parent of a child conceived by means of assisted reproduction” as extra protection to intended parents who complete a surrogacy in Washington.
Q: Are there any additional laws impacting same-sex surrogacy in Washington?
A: No, although LGBT intended parents are often recommended to complete an adoption after the birth of their child via surrogacy as an extra protection of their parental rights.
Because of the restrictions on compensated surrogacy in Washington, American Surrogacy does not accept surrogates from this state at this time. We believe that every surrogate should be compensated for her services to ensure each party is comfortable moving forward.
However, if you are an intended parent from Washington looking to complete a surrogacy in a more surrogacy-friendly state, our surrogacy specialists can help you find a surrogate that shares your surrogacy preferences from a different area in the U.S. Our case management services and support will also be available to you during this surrogacy journey.
To learn more about our agency program today, please call us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).
This article is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. Surrogacy laws in Washington are always subject to change, so please speak with a local Washington surrogacy attorney for more information about the current state of surrogacy in Washington.