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Surrogacy in Seattle
Surrogacy is an assisted reproductive technology in which a woman carries a pregnancy to term for another woman, usually because she cannot conceive or sustain a pregnancy.
There are traditional surrogates and gestational surrogates. Traditional surrogates use their own egg for the pregnancy, so the child that results is related biologically to the surrogate. Gestational surrogates do not use their own eggs, and instead are implanted with an egg from the couple or a donor. This child is not biologically related to the surrogate.
Couples can choose friends or family members to act as a known surrogate. Other couples prefer to work through an agency so they can work with an unknown surrogate.
Surrogacy Laws in Washington State
Washington state law permits surrogacy agreements as long as there is no compensation for the action. The law, which is found in the Revised Code of Washington 26.26.210, prohibits any kind of surrogacy contract that involved monetary or other kinds of compensation that go beyond medical expenses and lawyer fees.
These surrogacy agreements for compensation are considered void, since they are against public policy, and are punishable as a gross misdemeanor. Compensation includes money, objects, or services, as well as anything else that is deemed as having monetary value.
If a disagreement occurs regarding the custody of the child between the surrogate and the intended parents, the court recommends using a multi-pronged balancing test based on the relationship with each parents. Furthermore, a 1989 opinion from the Attorney General indicated that a surrogacy agreement is not valid if the surrogate withdraws her consent before a court approves the agreement.
Currently, there are no cases that deal specifically with surrogacy issues for same sex couples in Washington. However, the 2005 Washington Supreme Court case In re Parentage of L.B. ruled that a lesbian parent who was not biologically related to the child should be granted de facto parent status when she and her partner separated. This shows that Washington courts consider legal parenting rights to members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
Couples looking for a surrogate in the state of Washington can look to fertility clinics in the Seattle area. These clinics include:
- Overlake Reproductive Health, Bellevue
- Washington Center for Reproductive Medicine, Bellevue
Because surrogacy uses a third-party, it is considered the most legally complex of the assisted reproductive technologies. It is recommended you retain the services of a lawyer specializing in surrogacy before entering into an agreement.