Washington D.C. Surrogacy Laws


As of April 2017, gestational surrogacy is permitted in Washington D.C. under statute DC Law 21-0255. The new laws regulate the process for surrogates and Intended Parents.

Types of Surrogacy Available in Washington D.C.

Can a parentage order be granted for the following?

Although traditional surrogacy is permitted in Washington D.C., most attorneys and agencies strongly advise against the practice given the increased emotional and legal risks involved.

Gestational surrogacy


Commercial surrogacy


Traditional surrogacy


Altruistic surrogacy



Who can be declared as the parent(s) of a child from a surrogate via a court parentage order?

💚 – Both Intended Parent(s) can be named on the parentage order.

💛 – Only a genetic Intended Parent can be named on the parentage order. A non-genetic Intended Parent will need to establish parentage via a second or stepparent adoption following birth.

How are Intended Parent(s) Listed on the Birth Certificate?

Intended Parent(s) may be listed as Father-Mother, Parent-Parent, or Mother or Father.

Rights of Egg or Sperm Donor(s)

According to DC Law 21-0255, donors of sperm or egg for assisted reproduction procedures have no parental rights over the donated gametes or a resulting child. 

Surrogacy Steps in Washington D.C.

Surrogacy Process in Washington D.C.

Select your agency if applicable

Match with a gestational carrier

Complete medical and psychological evaluations

Select attorneys for the intended parents and gestational carrier and complete the gestational carrier agreement

Begin IVF cycle with surrogate

Pre-birth order

Proceedings begin after the first trimester.​

Delivery and birth certificate finalization

Birth Certificate Timeline

Birth certificate

Approximately 2 weeks

Legal and medical steps involved in the surrogacy process may differ from case to case. Please speak with your agency and attorneys about how the process might look for you.

Court Processes

Surrogacy Contracts

Surrogacy contracts in Washington D.C. are recognized and enforced as long as the statutory requirements are met.

Independent Counsel

Independent counsel is required for all parties involved in a surrogacy agreement.

Requirements for Surrogates and Intended Parent(s)


  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must have given birth to at least one live child
  • Must have undergone a medical evaluation in which the individual was approved to serve as a surrogate
  • Must have completed a mental health evaluation by a mental health professional in which the individual was approved to serve as a surrogate; provided that the mental health professional has received specialized training in, or has a practice that includes a specialty in, collaborative reproduction
  • Must have completed, with the intended parent or parents, a joint consultation with a mental health professional regarding issues that could arise during the surrogacy.

Intended Parent(s)

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must have completed with the surrogate a joint consultation with a mental health professional regarding issues that could arise during the surrogacy
  • If an individual is married or in a domestic partnership, both parties to the marriage or domestic partnership must satisfy these requirements.
Agencies and fertility clinics may also have their own requirements based on the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys.

Birth Orders

Do courts issue pre-birth orders?


Do courts issue post-birth orders?


Are hearings required to obtain either pre- or post-birth orders?


Bases of Venue

What are the bases of venue?

County where child is born; county where .Intended Parent(s) live; county where .Gestational Carrier lives

Do rulings vary by venue?


Can you file a motion to waive venue?


To satisfy venue requirements, either the Intended Parent(s) or the surrogate must live in Washington D.C. for at least a year prior to embryo transfer; or the child must be born in Washington D.C.

International Issues

With the streamlined process and inclusive statutory guidelines, international Intended Parent(s) may find doing surrogacy in Washington D.C. an easy process. International Intended Parent(s) will have additional legal steps to complete before their return home regarding their country’s immigration and citizen laws that impact the child. It’s imperative the international Intended Parent(s) speak with an experienced attorney in their home country about their situation. The law of more than one country will need to be considered if the Intended Parent(s) are citizens or residents of more than one country.  

Residency Requirements

Does the state impose residency requirements on either the surrogate or Intended Parent(s):


If the child is not going to be born in Washington D.C., then either the Intended Parent(s) or the surrogate must live in the district for at least one year prior to embryo transfer.

Birth Certificates

Can an international same-sex male couple receive an initial birth certificate naming the biological father and Gestational Carrier?


Can an international same-sex male couple obtain an initial birth certificate naming only the biological father?


Can they obtain a subsequent birth certificate naming only the Intended Parent(s) with no mention of the Gestational Carrier?


Passport Timeline

6-8 weeks after submitting birth certificate.

Passports can be expedited for a 2-3 week delivery with an extra fee. Intended Parent(s) can also visit a regional passport agency to receive one within 1-2 business days.

Passports are regulated at the federal level in the United States. To learn more about the process of receiving a US passport, visit Travel.State.gov.

Consulting Attorneys

Mark Eckman
311 Maple Avenue West
Suite E
Vienna VA 22180
(703) 242-8801

Legal Disclaimer

The content contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only. Content contained herein may or may not reflect the most current legal information on the subject; accordingly, this website is not promised to be correct or complete at any given time. Outcomes referenced should not be interpreted as an indication of future outcomes. Love & Kindness Surrogacy explicitly disclaims all liability for actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this website.

This website does not constitute a replacement for legal advice or counsel. Always consult an attorney before beginning the surrogacy process.

Last updated October 2019