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Surrogacy Laws in Washington

Washington permits surrogacy agreements that are uncompensated but says it’s not legal and not enforceable where there’s any agreement with the surrogate mother other than for legal and medical expenses. The question of surrogacy contracts dealing with LGBT individuals and couples hasn’t been looked at by the courts yet.


Washington laws specify that surrogacy agreements that are compensated are not enforceable and void because they are against public policy. Moreover, agreements like these can be punished in a court of law as a gross misdemeanor. The law suggests that if a custody disagreement arises between the intended parents and the surrogate mother, a court should handle the matter by using a balancing test that’s multi-pronged, according to the child’s relationship with each parent. A surrogate parentage contract that’s valid can help establish a parent-child relationship or a physician’s certificate and an affidavit where the gestational surrogate or egg donor lays out her intent to be the child’s legal parent. There was an opinion in 1989 where the Attorney General verified this assessment of the state’s law, and it also suggested that a surrogate parenting contract isn’t enforceable if the surrogate mother takes away her consent to give up the child before a court has verified that consent too.

There was a Supreme Court case in Washington in 2005 which addressed a lesbian couple who separated after they had tried to have a child through artificial insemination. The Court said that the partner who wasn’t genetically linked to the child had grounds for arguing that she was a parent of the child. Even though the case didn’t have to do with a surrogacy contract, it indicated that the courts in Washington were willing to give consideration at least to giving equal parental rights to LGBT couples and individuals.



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