Beginning the process of surrogacy in Washington, D.C., can feel a little overwhelming at first. After all, there’s a lot to be done in order to have a baby through surrogacy in D.C., or to help someone have a baby as a surrogate. The various steps involved are complex, and you may not understand them all yet.
But our guide has made is easy for you to understand the surrogacy process in District of Columbia.
The 6 Steps of the Washington, D.C. Surrogacy Process
Washington, D.C., surrogacy is one of the best-regulated legal processes of surrogacy in the United States, so intended parents and surrogates can feel comfortable knowing that they’re legally protected throughout the process. However, it’s always still important to learn about the legal, emotional and practical steps of the District of Columbia surrogacy process before you begin, so that you fully understand what you’re about to commit to.
Everyone’s surrogacy journey is going to be unique, but the typical six steps of surrogacy in District of Columbia include:
Step 1: Decide to Commit to Surrogacy
There are many ways to become a family, and surrogacy isn’t going to be the right family-building option for every hopeful parent. Similarly, becoming a surrogate isn’t going to be the right way for every woman to help others.
Surrogacy requires a serious commitment of time, bodies, emotions and effort from everyone involved, in different ways. The process usually requires you to commit for approximately one year, and will need your full dedication.
What are your motivations for choosing surrogacy in Washington, D.C.? It’s a demanding process, and it’s important that you understand what to expect. Do your motivations and goals realistically align with D.C. surrogacy?
Step 2: Select Your Type of Surrogacy and Your Professional
If you’ve decided that you’re ready to commit to the District of Columbia surrogacy process, then you’ll next need to determine which type of surrogacy is right for you. There are two types of surrogacy in the District of Columbia:
- Traditional surrogacy: In this surrogacy method, which is the less-common of the two, the surrogate is the biological mother of the child she carries for the intended parents. A traditional surrogate’s egg would be combined with the sperm from a donor or intended father through IUI or IVF in a fertility clinic. Traditional surrogacy in Washington, D.C., is protected under D.C.’s surrogacy laws, although there are a number of specific requirements that the process must follow by law. It should be noted that most surrogacy professionals will not complete a traditional surrogacy due to the increased legal and emotional risks associated with this method of surrogacy.
- Gestational surrogacy: Through this more-common surrogacy method, the gestational surrogate (aka gestational carrier) is not biologically related to the baby. An embryo is created from the egg and sperm of intended parents or donors through IVF, and is then transferred to the gestational surrogate’s uterus. Gestational surrogacy in Washington, D.C., is also protected by law, and the process is regulated by those laws. This type of surrogacy is easier for intended parents to secure their legal parental rights and there are fewer legal and emotional risks for everyone involved, so is generally preferred.
You’ll also need to choose which type of D.C. surrogacy professional you want to partner with. You also have two options for this choice. It’s important to always work with a surrogacy professional in order to protect everyone involved. Your two options for District of Columbia surrogacy professionals are:
- A surrogacy agency or program: An agency or matching program is usually able to provide all of the services that intended parents and surrogates need to complete the entire District of Columbia surrogacy process. This includes searching, screening, matching, counseling, case management, any needed referrals and more.
- A surrogacy attorney: A lawyer is able to complete the legal stages of the D.C. surrogacy process for intended parents and surrogates. Although they’re not always able to match surrogates and intended parents together or provide any non-legal services, an attorney may be able to refer you to a surrogacy professional who is able to offer the other services you’d need.
Step 3: Match with Your Surrogacy Partner
You don’t have to limit yourself to partnering with someone who lives in the District of Columbia. Your surrogacy match can live anywhere. In fact, long-distance matches are more common. What matters most is that you connect with your surrogacy partner and you share the same goals for your surrogacy journey.
There are a few different ways you can find someone to partner with for the surrogacy process in Washington, D.C.:
- Partner with someone you know: A common reason why many people turn to surrogacy in D.C. is because they personally know someone who is either struggling to have a child and they’d like to become their surrogate, or they’re a hopeful parent who knows someone who has offered to carry their child as their surrogate. Matching with someone you know means all you’d need to do is call a D.C. surrogacy professional to complete the screening and legal processes before beginning the medical steps.
- Match through a surrogacy agency: If you don’t personally know someone you’d like to partner with, a surrogacy agency can help you find the ideal match. They’ll show you profiles of people with their agency who have already been screened and whose surrogacy goals align with your own, and then you can choose to partner with someone from those profiles.
- Search on your own: You’re responsible for the screening of any potential matches if you pursue surrogacy in Washington, D.C. independently without the protection of a professional. This means that you could be at an increased chance for fraud, and should always proceed with caution. Searching can be done online or through your personal network.
Step 4: Complete the Legal Process for Surrogacy in Washington, D.C.
When you’ve found the person you want to partner with for your District of Columbia surrogacy process, you’ll move on to the legal stage together. D.C. surrogacy law requires that you must complete this stage before you begin the medical process. This will take place with the surrogate, her spouse (if she’s married), the intended parents, and two D.C. surrogate attorneys to individually counsel the two parties to ensure fair and equal representation.
There are a number of D.C.-specific laws that dictate how your Washington, D.C., surrogacy process will proceed. Your surrogacy attorney will guide you through these laws and work with you to create a surrogacy contract that covers important topics like surrogate compensation, the risks that everyone agrees to, expectations throughout the process, how everyone feels about selective reduction or termination and more.
When you’ve finalized your surrogacy contract together, you can move on to the medical steps of the process of surrogacy in D.C.
Step 5: Complete the Medical Process of Surrogacy in D.C.
The medical process of surrogacy in Washington, D.C., involves surrogates meeting a list of health requirements and completing a medical screening process, which is required by law in D.C. as well as by individual surrogacy professionals. This is done to ensure that surrogates are healthy enough to complete the physically demanding processes of surrogacy, which involves fertility medications, hormones and procedures leading up to an embryo transfer.
This embryo transfer takes place at the designated fertility clinic of the intended parents. The embryo is created in the fertility clinic through IVF using an egg and sperm from donors or intended parents. The embryo is transferred to the uterus of the gestational surrogate to be carried. Sometimes, several cycles of embryo transfers are needed for a healthy pregnancy to take place. When a doctor has confirmed that a pregnancy is stable, surrogates can go to their preferred OBGYN for routine prenatal care.
From that point on, surrogates and intended parents typically communicate back and forth about the progress of the baby as his or her arrival approaches.
Step 6: Celebrate the Baby’s Arrival
Long-distance surrogacy matches are common, so it’s equally common for the intended parents to travel to support their surrogate during her labor. A surrogacy birth is often an experience that surrogates and intended parents wish to share in together, as it’s something that is entirely unique and is very special for everyone involved. Best of all, it culminates in an entirely new person coming into the world.
If you’d like to learn more about becoming parents through surrogacy in Washington, D.C., or if you’d like to help to create families by becoming a surrogate mother in D.C., contact a surrogacy professional now. They’ll be able to give your more information about the process of surrogacy in the District of Columbia.