In recent years, Washington state has fundamentally changed its entire legal approach to surrogacy, transforming it into a haven for intended parents and surrogates alike.
As a result, intended parents now have more options for family building and potential surrogates have more work opportunities. In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about surrogacy in Washington, including the laws, pre-birth orders, costs, compensation, and a surrogacy agency that will meet all your needs.
Is Washington A “Surrogacy-Friendly” State?
Yes, it is! It’s actually considered to be one of the most surrogacy-friendly states in the whole country.
But this wasn’t always the case. In fact, you might still encounter some resources online that say gestational surrogacy is not legal in the state of Washington. Don’t listen to these! They’re outdated and based on older laws.
On January 1, 2019, an updated and revised Uniform Parentage Act went into effect as state law. It reversed the earlier state ban on gestational surrogacy and basically made Washington ultra surrogacy-friendly.
These revisions not only made gestational surrogacy legal but commercial surrogacy (or compensated surrogacy) as well. Prior to these changes, only altruistic surrogacy was allowed, but now surrogates can be paid for their services. That’s great news considering that becoming a surrogate is a ton of hard work!
However, Washington allows women to work as a paid gestational surrogate only once. This is unique – in most other states, surrogate mothers perform the job several times and even get paid better with each successive birth. If you’d like to be a paid gestational surrogate more than once, then you can always work with a surrogacy agency outside of Washington state.
Can I File A Pre-Birth Parentage Order In Washington?
Yes, you can! This makes the entire surrogacy process much easier, especially for the intended parents.
A pre-birth parentage order is basically a court order establishing the baby’s legal parents, regardless of the genetic relationship to the baby. They can rest assured knowing that as soon as the baby is born healthy, their names will be on the birth certificate. This means that they will be the child’s legal parents right away and can take the child home straight from the hospital.
This ability to establish legal parentage before the child is born is guaranteed in the Uniform Parentage Act, under sections RCW 26.26A.100 to 26.26A.265. However, Washington state law allows you to file a pre-birth order only in cases of gestational surrogacy. If you decide to go with traditional surrogacy, you can’t file the parentage order until after the baby is born.
How Does Surrogacy In Washington Work?
The surrogacy process for both intended parents and surrogates in Washington is as follows:
- The intended parents will undergo fertility treatments (including IVF) to prepare a viable embryo for the surrogate.
- Both the intended parents and surrogates should choose a surrogacy agency and then apply.
- They are screened by the agency to meet all the necessary requirements, including background checks.
- The agency will find the right surrogate for the intended parents.
- A surrogacy contract will be drafted, signed, and notarized.
- The surrogate mother gets pregnant via embryo transfer.
- The pre-birth order paperwork can be filed with Vital Statistics starting at the beginning of the second trimester.
As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts to the surrogacy journey. That’s why choosing an agency can make all the difference – they’ll guide both intended parents and surrogates every step of the way, making it easier to focus on the health and happiness of the baby.
What Are The Surrogacy Costs For Intended Parents In Washington?
The potential surrogacy costs for intended parents vary extensively, depending on various details. However, in most cases, you can expect to pay anywhere from $80,000 to $130,000, not including the costs of fertility treatments.
These costs include:
- Surrogate compensation (including base salary and reimbursements)
- Agency fees (including legal costs)
- Medical costs (including fertility treatments)
If you want an accurate estimate of costs, it’s best to contact a surrogacy agency directly and speak to them. Surrogacy By Faith works with intended parents from all over the country, so our knowledgeable staff is always happy to discuss what your potential surrogacy costs might be.
What’s The Average Surrogate Compensation In Washington?
Washington is a surrogacy-friendly state, just like California, Oregon, Texas, North Carolina, and Florida, so surrogates are in high demand. This means that surrogates get paid very well – anywhere from $40,000 to $65,000.
However, this is just the base salary! It doesn’t include bonus compensation and all the expenses that are covered, including:
- Medical appointments and procedures
- Regular allowances
- Lost wages
- Miscellaneous expenses like maternity clothes and child care
Washington state law requires that all this information is explicitly stated in the surrogacy contract, so make sure that it’s all covered before you sign. If you decide to work with a surrogacy agency, this becomes much easier since they’ll handle these types of logistics and always protect your interests.
What Does A Surrogacy Contract In Washington Need To Include?
In the state of Washington, a surrogacy contract (also known as a gestational carrier agreement or GCA) is legally binding and enforceable. But it has to be in writing, signed by all parties, notarized, and executed before any medical procedures. Plus, at least one of the parties must be a legal resident of Washington.
Additionally, there are certain things that must be covered in your surrogacy contract in order for it to be valid. They include:
- The rights, responsibilities, and obligations of each party.
- The potential risks and liabilities for each party.
- Surrogate compensation as well as reimbursements and medical costs.
- Steps for establishing parentage, either before or after birth.
- Contact expectations before, during, and after the surrogacy.
Like most other states that have legalized commercial surrogacy, Washington requires that intended parents and surrogates have separate legal counsel to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Working with a surrogacy agency will make this part of the process much easier, as they can interface with the attorneys and handle all the logistics. However, if you’d like to have someone else examine the documentation, or you’d like to choose your lawyer for the surrogacy agency, Washington state has some great reproductive/family attorneys:
- Dilek Law, PLLC – Seattle
- Betsy Wurdeman, Attorney At Law – Seattle
- Lirhus Keckemet Annest PLLC – Seattle
- Christina T. Sherman, PLLC – Tacoma
Can I Work With Surrogacy By Faith If I Live In Washington?
If you’re based in Washington and are trying to find the best surrogacy agency, it’s important to know that you don’t have to choose an agency based on geographic proximity. If you’re an intended parent, choose an agency that provides the most qualified surrogates. If you’re a surrogate, then you should choose an agency that provides great benefits.
Surrogacy By Faith is the perfect choice! We’re based in Southern California, but we work with people from all over the country. For us, surrogacy is more than just a job: it’s a mission that we hold sacred. We work extra hard to ensure that each match between surrogates and intended parents is absolutely perfect.