Is Surrogacy Legal in District of Columbia?

Understanding D.C. Surrogacy Laws

The surrogacy laws in Washington, D.C. can be complex if you don’t have a clear understanding of their processes. This guide will break down the D.C. surrogacy laws that will affect you and your surrogacy journey.

There are clear-cut surrogacy laws in Washington, D.C., that guide the surrogacy process in the District of Columbia for surrogates and intended parents. These are some of the most well-regulated surrogacy laws in the United States, so growing families through surrogacy in D.C. is very safe and increasingly popular. However, you’ll need a knowledgeable professional to guide you through the D.C. surrogacy laws specific to your circumstances.

Contact a surrogacy attorney if there are any legal issues with surrogacy that you’re worried about, or if you have any questions regarding surrogacy law in D.C. The information below will help you gain a better understanding of the rules and regulations of surrogacy in Washington, D.C., but this article is not intended as legal advice.

The following are some of the most commonly asked questions about Washington, D.C., surrogacy laws and their answers:

“Is Surrogacy Legal in the District of Columbia?”

Yes. However, this is a relatively recent change. On April 7, 2017, the District of Columbia’s gestational surrogacy statue went into effect, officially legalizing surrogacy in Washington, D.C., where it was previously outlawed. The new laws regulate the process for surrogates and intended parents.

“Is Traditional Surrogacy Legal in Washington, D.C.?”

Yes. Traditional surrogacy is legal under D.C. surrogacy laws — as long as that process follows the requirements set forth in the District of Columbia surrogacy laws. For example, one of those traditional surrogacy laws in D.C. states that a parentage order may not be issued in traditional surrogacy for at least 48 hours following the birth of the baby.

The surrogacy statute also covers gestational surrogacy laws in D.C. It’s easier to obtain a parentage order through this type of surrogacy than it is with traditional surrogacy, and surrogacy professionals are more likely to complete a gestational surrogacy than a traditional surrogacy.

“Is Compensated Surrogacy Legal in D.C.?”

Yes. Surrogacy laws in the District of Columbia legalize compensated gestational carrier agreements and their enforcement. Surrogates are fairly compensated by intended parents, usually through an escrow agent, for the time and effort that they dedicate to the surrogacy process, the wages that they miss out on while attending surrogacy-related appointments, surrogacy-related travel expenses and the physical risks that they take on. This is also regulated by gestational surrogacy laws in Washington, D.C.

“Is Same-Sex Surrogacy Legal in the District of Columbia?”

Yes. LGBT+ individuals and same-sex couples have the same legal rights under Washington, D.C., surrogacy legislation as opposite-sex couples. Your surrogacy process will generally be the same as that of an opposite-sex couple, with the exception of needing to work with an egg or sperm donor for your IVF process. You can learn more about LGBT surrogacy in D.C. here.

Creating a Washington, D.C. Surrogacy Contract

During the legal process, the intended parents, the gestational surrogate, the surrogate’s spouse or domestic partner (if applicable) and two surrogacy attorneys will need to work together to create a Washington, D.C. surrogacy legal contract. Surrogacy laws in D.C. require that the contract must be completed before the embryo transfer processes can occur.

There are a number of legally required steps that must be followed during the creation of your surrogacy contract, established by D.C. surrogacy law. For example, the contact must “be notarized or signed before a minimum of 2 witnesses who shall document their names, addresses, and phone numbers.” Your attorneys will be able to walk you through all of these specific surrogacy laws in the District of Columbia that affect your contract.

Surrogacy contracts are an important way for everyone to get on the same page before beginning the surrogacy process together. Topics discussed in the contract will include the risks and responsibilities that each party accepts, surrogate compensation, expectations throughout the process and other important issues.

When you’ve finalized the contract together, then you can move on to the medical steps of the surrogacy process.

Determining Legal Parentage in Washington, D.C.

The laws on surrogacy in Washington, D.C., determine how the parental rights of the intended parents are established through parentage orders. These orders may be obtained before the baby is born, or in some situations, like traditional surrogacy, intended parents may be required to wait until after the baby is born. This depends on your individual situation and the D.C. surrogacy laws that apply to that situation.

A surrogacy professional will be able to walk you through the District of Columbia surrogacy laws that may affect you and your surrogacy process, whether you’re a hopeful parent or surrogate. Everyone’s legal situation is unique, so contact a surrogacy professional now to learn more about the surrogacy laws in Washington, D.C., and how those laws may affect your ability to pursue surrogacy.