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  • Writer's pictureRalph M. Tsong

Legal Requirements for Surrogacy Agreements in Washington


surrogacy in washington

In Washington, surrogacy agreements are governed by specific legal requirements to ensure all the rights of parties involved. If you are an intended parent interested in growing your family via surrogacy or becoming a surrogate, you should become familiar with Washington’s requirements. In 2019, Washington enacted one of the best surrogacy laws in the country; making it a popular state for surrogacy. They recognize intended parents as the child’s parents before birth through court documents from a Pre-Birth Order. Their regulates serve as a framework for a clear and ethical surrogacy journey.  


Requirements of Gestational or Genetic Surrogacy Agreements 

Firstly, all parties involved like intended parents (IP) and the gestational carrier (GC) along with her spouse if applicable, must be at least 21 years old. The GC should have previously given birth to at least one child or not have entered into two surrogacy agreements that resulted in birth. Washington requires that all parties undergo medical evaluations and mental health consultations to assess physical and psychological suitability to enter the gestational surrogacy agreement (GSA). 


Both parties will have independent legal counsel with the IPs responsible for covering the costs of the GC’s legal representation. The attorney for the GC will help review the GSA so that all parties fully understand their rights and potential liabilities under the agreement. The surrogate's spouse will be involved in the GSA as mandated by Washington law. This requirement acknowledges the spouse’s legal rights regarding any resulting children.  


The surrogacy agreement must be executed and signed before a notary public. This procedure ensures the validity and enforceability of the GSA. The GSA needs to disclose IPs’ financial responsibility for covering the medical expenses of the GC and the child. This will include a review of insurance coverage or any necessary purchases of insurance plans. The agreement should also outline medical costs that are not covered by insurance and how the GC can submit surrogacy related costs for reimbursements. Life insurance purchase is necessary before the GC’s embryo transfer. IPs must appoint a designated person to be the alternate parent or guardian to step in if both IPs pass away prior to the birth of the child.  


Washington law specifically states that the GC must retain the ability to make healthcare decisions regarding herself and the pregnancy, as outlined in Revised Code of Washington (RCA) Ch. 26.26A.715(1)(f). This gives the surrogate autonomy over her medical care throughout the pregnancy. However, Washington law requires a clear outline of circumstances for abortion or selective reduction. The agreement should also include responsibilities of GC to attend all doctor visits, follow proper medical instructions, and comply with any restrictions such as food, travel, and physical.  


The agreement should also have a clear breakdown of how the GC will be compensated. This will include any potential invasive procedures that GC undergoes like a c-section or loss of an organ. The clear breakdown of compensation is helpful for all parties to understand when certain amounts will be paid, such as if the pregnancy results in a twin pregnancy. Like any GSA, Washington GSAs should also include sections regarding breach or termination of contract.  

If all requirements are met, a Washington court can enter a prebirth judgment affirming that the intended parents are the legal parents of the child conceived through surrogacy and they will be listed on the birth certificate to be issued. The parentage action will be filed in the county where IPs reside, GC resides, where the child will be born, or where the medical procedures will be performed.  

 

With the help of a surrogacy attorney, you can safely complete a successful surrogacy. The attorneys of Tsong Law Group have extensive experience in the niche field of surrogacy law. Based in California, the attorneys of Tsong Law Group are also licensed in Washington, New York, Illinois, Arizona, Oklahoma, and California. They are also a fellow of Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) and Academy of California Adoption-ART Lawyers (ACAL).  


If you need assistance with your surrogacy agreement, contact us today. 

 

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon without additional research or consulting an attorney. This article is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship with the reader. 

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