Is Surrogacy Legal in Washington State?

Surrogacy helps many couples who are unable to conceive a child naturally – particularly infertile men/women and same-sex couples – to get the baby they have always dreamed of having. With surrogacy, a surrogate mother carries the baby to term in her womb for the couple – who are considered the legal parents of the child. Different states have their own surrogacy laws, which brings us to an important question; is surrogacy legal in Washington state?

The short answer is; yes, surrogacy in Washington is legal. However, until recently, it was only legal as long as the surrogate mother was not compensated in any way. The couple could pay their medical bills but they weren’t legally allowed to sign a contract to pay them for their services. Such contracts were also unenforceable. Effectively; surrogacy was legal but commercial surrogacy was not.

This changed recently with the introduction of a new statute – effective from January 1, 2019 – that means the state now recognizes contracts for gestational and genetic surrogacy arrangements. That basically means that women can now be paid to be surrogate mothers. The law helps to secure and protect the rights of the surrogate mother, the intended parents, the baby and – when one is required – the donor. Everyone has their part to play in the process and so the law has to define and defend those roles.

Thanks to these laws, establishing the parentage of a child born from surrogacy in Washington state will now be a seamless process. It’s unclear right now if any party will ever have to appear in court, and any part involved in the agreement can petition the court for the order that declares the parentage of the intended parents.

It should be noted that problems with surrogacy are rare, but there are certainly physical and psychological impacts of carrying a child to term. The law means that the intended parents who paid for the surrogacy are the full legal parents of any children born and, if requested, the court will supply an order that shows this. There is no need to worry that someone might try to take your surrogate child away from you or claim that you aren’t their parent.

So if you are wondering if surrogacy is legal in Washington State, it is. You can rest assured that the whole process is completely covered by the law. Everyone involved has clearly defined rights and obligations. We wish you luck on your surrogacy journey!