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Washington Surrogacy Lawyer

In addition to adoption some families are turning to Assisted Reproductive Technology to grow their families. Washington state recently incorporated Assisted Reproductive Technology in the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA 2017). If you or someone you know is looking for assistance with surrogacy or IVF matters in Washington State, reach out to our firm using our surrogacy-specific form and a member of our team will reach out to you.

IVF and surrogacy

Surrogacy Contracts

Surrogacy Contracts:
Surrogacy contracts are legal agreements that govern the relationship and responsibilities between intended parents and a surrogate mother. These contracts are crucial in outlining the terms of the arrangement, including compensation, medical procedures, and parental rights. In cases of gestational surrogacy, where the surrogate has no genetic connection to the child, these contracts help establish the intended parents as the legal parents from the outset. Surrogacy contracts also typically address issues like potential contingencies, such as multiple embryo transfers and selective reduction.

IVF Contracts:
In vitro fertilization (IVF) contracts are an integral part of the assisted reproductive technology process. These contracts define the rights and obligations of the intended parents, egg or sperm donors, and the medical professionals involved in the IVF procedure. IVF contracts often address issues related to the use of gametes, the disposition of embryos, and financial arrangements. They ensure that all parties involved are on the same page regarding the fertility treatment and its associated legal, medical, and financial implications.

Donor Agreements:
Donor agreements are contracts that govern the process of donating eggs, sperm, or embryos for assisted reproductive purposes. These agreements clarify the rights and responsibilities of the donor, the recipient, and the resulting child. They often outline issues related to confidentiality, compensation, and the relinquishment of parental rights by the donor. Donor agreements are essential for both traditional and gestational surrogacy arrangements, as they provide a legal framework to address potential disputes or concerns that may arise in the future.

Genetic Surrogacy:
Genetic surrogacy, also known as traditional surrogacy, involves a surrogate mother who uses her own eggs for conception. In genetic surrogacy, the surrogate has a genetic connection to the child she carries. Surrogacy contracts for genetic surrogacy must carefully define the roles and responsibilities of all parties, including the surrogate’s parental rights and any compensation agreements. It’s a complex and sensitive process, requiring comprehensive legal documentation.

Gestational Surrogacy:
Gestational surrogacy is a surrogacy arrangement where the surrogate mother is not genetically related to the child she carries. In this case, IVF contracts are instrumental, as they specify the use of intended parents’ or donor gametes for conception. The surrogacy contract for gestational surrogacy is more focused on the rights and obligations of the intended parents and the surrogate in the absence of a genetic connection. These contracts ensure that the child’s legal parentage is established from the outset, promoting a smoother and more legally secure surrogacy journey.

What Does the Process for Surrogacy/IVF Contracts or Adoption Look Like?

Surrogacy/IVF Contracts

  1. Initial Consultation: We begin with a detailed discussion to understand your goals, whether you are intended parents or a surrogate.

  2. Legal Consultation and Drafting: Our firm will draft a comprehensive contract outlining the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved. This includes medical procedures, compensation, parental rights, and other key aspects.

  3. Review and Negotiation: Both parties review the contract. We facilitate negotiations to ensure mutual agreement and satisfaction.

  4. Finalization and Signing: Once all terms are agreed upon, the contract is finalized and signed, making it legally binding.

  5. Medical Procedures and Monitoring: With the contract in place, medical procedures such as IVF and embryo transfer can proceed. We remain available for any legal support needed during this time.


  1. Initial Consultation: We start with a meeting to discuss your adoption goals and the type of adoption you are pursuing (e.g., private placement, agency, international).

  2. Home Study: Prospective adoptive parents must complete a home study, involving background checks, interviews, and home visits to ensure a safe environment for the child.

  3. Legal Documentation: We prepare and file all necessary legal documents to initiate the adoption process, including consent forms and petitions.

  4. Matching and Placement: In the case of private or agency adoptions, a match is made between adoptive parents and a child. Once matched, the child is placed with the adoptive parents.

  5. Post-Placement Supervision: After placement, there is a period of supervision where a social worker conducts follow-up visits to ensure the child’s well-being and adjustment.

  6. Finalization: The process concludes with a court hearing to finalize the adoption. The judge reviews all documents and, if everything is in order, grants the adoption decree.

What is assisted reproductive technology (ART) in Washington State?

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is the production of a pregnancy without sexual intercourse. (RCW 26.26A.700), utilizing such methods as:

  • Intrauterine or intracervical insemination;
  • Donation of gametes;
  • Donation of embryos;
  • In-vitro fertilization and transfer of embryos; and
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Surrogacy involves an agreement between one or more intended parents with a woman who is not an intended parent who agrees to become pregnant through assisted reproduction for the purpose of making the intended parents of the child conceived under the agreement. RCW 26.26A.700

How Do You Become a Gestational Surrogate in Washington?

Becoming a gestational surrogate is a generous way to help families achieve their dreams. If you’re considering this path in Washington, here’s a brief overview of the process:

  1. Research and Decision: Understand the emotional, physical, and legal aspects of surrogacy to ensure you’re prepared.

  2. Meet Requirements: Surrogates must be at least 21, have given birth to at least one child, and undergo medical and psychological evaluations.

  3. Find a Match: Work with a surrogacy agency or directly with intended parents to find the right match.

  4. Medical Screening: Undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation to ensure you can carry a pregnancy to term.

  5. Legal Agreements: A legal contract outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties. At Christina T. Sherman, PLLC, we ensure your legal rights are protected.

  6. Psychological Evaluation: A psychological assessment ensures you’re mentally prepared, with ongoing counseling available.

  7. Embryo Transfer: A fertility clinic performs the embryo transfer procedure.

  8. Pregnancy and Birth: Receive prenatal care and support throughout the pregnancy, with involvement from the intended parents as agreed.

  9. Post-Birth Legal Processes: Legal steps transfer parental rights to the intended parents, finalizing their legal rights.

What are the surrogacy requirements in Washington State?


To establish a legally binding surrogacy arrangement in Washington, both intended parents and surrogates must adhere to specific criteria and engage in independent legal counsel. Here’s a breakdown of the requirements and contractual considerations:

  1. Prior Pregnancy Experience: Surrogates must have previously given birth to a child but no more than twice through surrogacy arrangements.

  2. Age Requirement: All parties involved, including surrogates and intended parents, must be at least 21 years old.

  3. Medical and Mental Health Screening: Surrogates and intended parents undergo thorough medical and mental health evaluations to ensure suitability for the surrogacy process.

  4. Residency: At least one party must be a resident of Washington state.

Once these prerequisites are met, legal representatives for both parties negotiate a comprehensive contract covering various aspects, including:

  • Rights and Responsibilities: Clearly outlining the roles and obligations of each party involved.
  • Risk and Liability Assessment: Identifying potential risks and liabilities associated with the surrogacy journey.
  • Financial Arrangements: Detailing financial matters such as coverage of medical expenses and surrogacy insurance.
  • Parental Rights Establishment: Establishing the legal rights of intended parents to the child born through surrogacy.
  • Communication Expectations: Defining expectations regarding contact before, during, and after the surrogacy process.

Once the surrogacy contract is mutually agreed upon, signed, notarized, and executed by both parties, the medical procedures necessary for surrogacy can begin. This legal and procedural framework aims to ensure the rights and well-being of all parties involved in the surrogacy arrangement.

How can Christina T. Sherman, PLLC, help with surrogacy and ART in Washington State

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Christina has been privileged to advocate for numerous clients in their adoption cases and has achieved the distinction of being named an Academy Fellow in the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA). This esteemed organization is a non-profit entity focused on promoting the competent and ethical practice of adoption and assisted reproduction law. The AAAA actively supports laws and policies that safeguard the best interests of children, the legal standing of families formed through adoption and assisted reproduction, and the rights of all involved parties. Membership in AAAA is granted to attorneys only after undergoing a thorough review process to ensure they uphold the highest standards of ethical and legal practice in the field of adoption.

ART In Washington State 

A parent becomes a parent through Assisted Reproductive Technology through valid assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy agreements. We can help you with:

  • Discussing your rights and responsibilities;
  • Negotiating, Drafting and Editing Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy contracts on your behalf;
  • Ensuring that all parties are easily able to understand what, can sometimes be, complicated contracts;
  • Facilitating communications with medical providers, including hospital staff; and
  • Establishing Parentage in Washington.
We will gladly meet with you to explore the assisted reproductive technology, surrogacy and parenting options available to you through Assisted Reproductive Technology and Gestational or Traditional Surrogacy.

“You’re an amazing Attorney”

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Your family is important to us. Contact us today.

We understand that the adoption process may seem overwhelming, and we are dedicated to getting answers to whatever questions you may have.

We serve clients throughout Tacoma, Pierce County, King County, Thurston County, Kitsap County, and the Western Washington area.

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