Surrogacy in Washington, D.C. [The Complete Guide]

The Washington, D.C. Surrogacy Process in 7 Steps

For hopeful intended parents and gestational surrogates in Washington, D.C., the surrogacy process can seem a little daunting. After all, there’s a lot to learn about and consider before you take your first step.

So below, we’ve outlined the 7 steps of surrogacy in Washington, D.C. to help you gain a better understanding of what’s ahead. Remember: If you want to get started or if you need more information, you can contact us at any time.

Step 1: Choose surrogacy.

For many would-be parents and for women who wish to help families in Washington D.C., surrogacy seems an easy and exciting decision. For others, it’s a harder choice. We know that there is a lot about surrogacy in Washington, D.C. that you may still be unsure about.

If we can answer any questions or provide you with any additional information that can aid you in your decision, just let us know. We’re here to help you find the path that’s right for you.

Step 2: Choose the type of surrogacy and your professional.

There are several different types of surrogacy in Washington, D.C. and different paths your journey can take:

  • Gestational vs. Traditional: Traditional surrogates use their own eggs in the process, gestational surrogates do not. The vast majority of surrogacy professionals today only complete gestational surrogacies due to the increased legal and emotional risks of traditional surrogacy.
  • Compensated vs. Altruistic: Whether or not the surrogate receives base compensation in addition to reimbursement for the surrogacy-related medical and legal expenses. Not all states permit compensated surrogacy.
  • Domestic vs. International: The intended parents and surrogate either both reside in the U.S., or the two parties are in different countries. Not all surrogacy professionals will complete international surrogacies.
  • Agency vs. Independent: Surrogacy agencies screen potential matches, coordinate the process and provide support services from start to finish. In independent surrogacy, you’d handle all of this on your own.

If you’re not sure which of the options are right for you and your family, we can walk you through the options and offer our years of expertise to help you better understand the different types.

Step 3: Complete the screening processes.

Before the Washington, D.C. surrogacy process can truly begin, intended parents and surrogates need to undergo screening to ensure that everyone is physically, mentally, emotionally, financially and legally ready for this journey.

The evaluations that surrogates and intended parents will need to complete will vary from one professional to the next. But most will ask that you undergo background checks, in-home visits and interviews. Additionally, surrogates will undergo a series of medical examinations to ensure that they are healthy enough to become a surrogate in Washington, D.C.

Step 4: Find a match.

You may already have your perfect match in mind, especially if your surrogate or intended parents are your friends or family members. But, for those who don’t already have a match, there are two ways to find one:

  • Independent matching: In independent surrogacy (without an agency), you would be responsible for finding, screening and managing your own match. Be wary of scams.
  • Surrogacy matching programs: Here, you would work with a surrogacy agency. They would screen potential matches for you, and then support you throughout the entirety of the Washington, D.C. surrogacy process.

No matter how you choose to find a Washington, D.C. surrogacy match, we’ll be able to help you complete the required legal steps, and keep you legally protected throughout the process and beyond.

Step 5: Create your contract.

Now, it’s time for the intended parents and surrogate to establish a formal, legally-binding Washington, D.C. surrogacy contract. The two parties will need to be separately represented by individual Washington, D.C. surrogacy attorneys. This is the only way to ensure fair and equal representation throughout the creation of the contract. If you don’t have a secondary surrogacy lawyer in Washington, D.C., we can refer you to legal representation we know and trust.


The two Washington, D.C. surrogacy lawyers will meet with their respective parties to discuss potential terms to include within the contract. Then, the attorneys will come together to create a contract that accurately reflects and respects everyone’s needs. If everyone approves of the terms within the contract, it will be signed and executed.

With that finalized contract, you can move forward with the Washington, D.C. surrogacy process. Next up, the medical stage.

Step 6: Complete the medical process.

This is when preparations for the embryo transfer process will begin. All of the details regarding your medical process will have been outlined in your contract, including the agreed-upon fertility clinic where fertility treatments will take place.

If the intended parents don’t already have frozen embryos that they’ll be using, the intended mother or the egg donor will be given medication to help develop eggs before the retrieval process. Then, the egg will be fertilized at the fertility clinic to create an embryo, which will then be transferred to the surrogate’s uterus.

After the pregnancy has been confirmed and a heartbeat is heard, the surrogate will typically start receiving base compensation in addition to prenatal care throughout the pregnancy.

Step 7: Welcome the baby.

This is the most anticipated moment of the Washington, D.C. surrogacy process for surrogates and intended parents alike. To celebrate and participate in this life-changing experience, the intended parents typically join their surrogate at the hospital and support her throughout labor and delivery. When the baby is born and the surrogate is discharged, everyone can return home.

There will be a few final legal steps to complete at this point. We’ll guide everyone through these final legalities, and make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible so that you can all focus on the important moment at hand.


3 Common Questions About Surrogacy in Washington, D.C.

 We know that, with a process as complex as surrogacy in the District of Columbia, questions are going to be common and natural. Jennifer and Catelyn are here to answer any additional legal questions you may about the process of surrogacy in D.C., but for now, here are the answers to 3 of the most common questions we receive:

“Is surrogacy legal in Washington, D.C.?”

 Yes. As long as your Washington, D.C. surrogacy process is completed in accordance with local laws and regulations, surrogacy is legal here. This is why you must always work with an experienced Washington, D.C. surrogacy attorney, as Jennifer and Catelyn are the most familiar with local requirements.

“Is traditional surrogacy legal in the District of Columbia?”

 Yes. However, we (and most Washington, D.C. surrogacy professionals) will always encourage you to consider gestational surrogacy instead. Traditional surrogacy involves increased legal and emotional risks for everyone involved, and many professionals will not complete this type of surrogacy.

“Is compensated surrogacy permitted in Washington, D.C.?”

 Yes. We’ll help you outline the specifics regarding reimbursement and compensation in your legal contract.


 Ready to begin your Washington, D.C. surrogacy? Have some more questions, or need legal guidance? Schedule your consultation now, and let one of our attorneys be your legal guides throughout the process of surrogacy in Washington, D.C.

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax