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Becoming a Surrogate in Washington

Nicole Lawson and Julie Allgood sitting on a bench

Abundant Beginnings Co. is an independent and privately-operated surrogacy agency dedicated to guiding and supporting intended parents and surrogates through every stage of the surrogacy journey in Washington state. Founded by two women with over 26 years of combined expertise in surrogacy, from both professional and personal perspectives, our agency serves as a trusted beacon for those embarking on this profound journey.

Our devoted team of staff members takes pride in assisting and navigating you through the intricate process of surrogacy in Washington. Whether you’re just starting to research or ready to take the next steps, we provide the right information to help you navigate the process smoothly and fulfill your dream of having a baby through a secure, legally validated surrogacy arrangement.

With our comprehensive knowledge of Washington’s surrogacy laws and regulations, we ensure that every step of your journey adheres to the state’s requirements, safeguarding the rights and well-being of all parties involved.


Why Be A Surrogate?

Becoming a surrogate involves big commitment, but ultimately brings the reward of helping create new families.

Compensation & Costs

In Washington state, the average base compensation for first-time surrogates typically ranges from $50,000 to $60,000. For experienced surrogates who have previously carried a pregnancy, the compensation can reach $70,000 or higher.

In addition to the base compensation, surrogates are entitled to have various pregnancy-related expenses covered, such as costs for maternity clothes, medical co-payments, monthly allowance, childcare, all travel expenses and other reasonable fees. With these additional compensation elements, the total compensation package for a surrogate in Washington can surpass $80,000. The payments are disbursed in installments throughout the pregnancy and after delivery.

Specifically, the law states:

“The agreement must include information disclosing how each intended parent will cover the surrogacy-related expenses of the surrogate and the medical expenses of the child. If health care coverage is used to cover the medical expenses, the disclosure must include a summary of the health care policy provisions related to coverage for surrogate pregnancy, including any possible liability of the woman acting as a surrogate, third-party liability liens, other insurance coverage, and any notice requirement that could affect coverage or liability of the woman acting as a surrogate.” (RCW 26.26A.710(1)(f))

As such, intended parents are required to maintain a comprehensive health insurance policy for the surrogate that covers all prenatal care, hospitalization for delivery, and postpartum care costs.

Surrogates do not bear any medical expenses related to the pregnancy and childbirth.

Washington Surrogate Requirements

Age and Body Mass Requirements

Potential surrogates must be between the ages of 21 and 40 and have a body mass index (BMI) below 32 to qualify. These age and weight restrictions help ensure informed consent and minimize potential medical risks associated with surrogacy. Clinics across the country have different criteria, and we have found these requirements to be consistent across most fertility clinics.

Prior Pregnancy Experience

Washington requires that surrogates have previously carried at least one pregnancy to full term and had at least one live, healthy birth. This prerequisite demonstrates the surrogate’s ability to tolerate pregnancy and delivery successfully.


Citizenship and Residency

Surrogates in Washington must be either United States citizens or lawful permanent residents of the US. Extensive medical and psychological screenings are conducted to verify that surrogates are in good overall health, without any disqualifying conditions or risks that could potentially complicate the pregnancy and delivery process.

Background Checks

Thorough background checks are performed on potential surrogates (and their partners, if in a relationship) to identify any concerning criminal history that could jeopardize the surrogacy process or suggest unethical behavior on the part of the surrogate or her partner, if applicable.

Independent Legal Representation

To execute an agreement to act as a gestational or genetic surrogate, a woman must have independent legal representation of her choice throughout the surrogacy arrangement regarding the terms of the surrogacy agreement and the potential legal consequences of the agreement.” Qualified surrogacy agencies will help you to locate an experienced family formation attorney in Washington to guide you legally through the process.

Screening Process for Potential Surrogates

The screening process for becoming a surrogate in Washington state is thorough and comprehensive to ensure the well-being of all parties involved.

Washington law mandates that potential surrogates must pass all phases of screening before being matched with intended parents. Surrogacy agencies in the state guide surrogates through this process, making it as straightforward as possible.

Extensive Medical Screening

Surrogates must undergo an extensive medical screening conducted by a reproductive endocrinologist. This evaluation includes a review of the surrogate’s complete medical records, an in-person physical examination, and necessary screening laboratory tests for the surrogate and her partner, if applicable. To execute an agreement to act as a gestational or genetic surrogate, a woman must complete a medical evaluation related to the surrogacy arrangement by a licensed medical doctor and complete a mental health consultation by a licensed mental health professional.

Psychological Evaluation and Personality Testing

Both the potential surrogate and her partner or spouse, if applicable, are required to undergo a comprehensive psychological evaluation by a licensed mental health professional. This assessment aims to evaluate emotional stability and overall suitability for the surrogacy process. The surrogate will also be administered a personality inventory test, with the results included in the final report.

Criminal Background Checks

Thorough criminal background checks are conducted on all adults residing in the surrogate’s household to identify any potential issues or concerns that could impact the surrogacy arrangement.

The Surrogacy Process

Every surrogacy agency in Washington state follows the strict guidelines set forth by the state’s surrogacy laws. These laws aim to protect all parties involved and ensure a safe and legally compliant process.

Matching and Contracting

The surrogacy agency will facilitate the introduction and matching between potential surrogates and prospective intended parents based on mutual preferences and suitability factors. As per Washington law, both the surrogate and intended parents must:

“Complete a mental health consultation by a licensed mental health professional.” (RCW 26.26A.705)

This independent counseling ensures clear expectations and alignment before a formal match is made. Attorneys will also provide legal consultations to review the key terms of the surrogacy contract and ensure the rights of all parties are protected.

Medications and Pregnancy

After the contract is signed, the surrogate will begin any necessary medications to prepare her body for the embryo transfer procedure.

During the pregnancy, the surrogate must “adhere to all medical guidelines from her OB/GYN as well as reasonable requests from the intended parents.” (paraphrased from previous content) This includes attending regular prenatal checkups and providing updates to the intended parents.

Around 15 weeks into the pregnancy, the agency will notify the attorneys to initiate processing the birth certificate paperwork and the court order to establish the intended parents’ legal parentage, in accordance with Washington laws.

Delivery and Post-Birth

Qualifying as a surrogate in Washington involves more than just meeting the medical requirements. Before starting the process, surrogates need to be fully aware of the time commitment involved, along with the emotional and physiological effects it can have on them and their families.

As a surrogate, one commits a significant amount of time before and during the pregnancy to doctor’s appointments, meetings, and ongoing communication with the intended parents. Being a surrogate is comparable to having a part-time job, and it’s crucial to be prepared for the additional work and demands it may place on everyday life.

Furthermore, the hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to contrasting emotions, which is normal. Having an active support system in place, including a partner, extended family, and friends, is very important to help the surrogate when needed. Qualified surrogacy agencies will also have you complete regular check ins with a therapist, who will offer support and comfort during the pregnancy.

While we have discussed some useful information regarding the qualifications, the best way to learn more about surrogacy is to give us a call at (323) 207-5762 with no commitment required. We are here to answer all your questions.

Common Concerns

We understand that both surrogates and intended parents may have various concerns and questions when embarking on the surrogacy journey. At Abundant Beginnings Co., we aim to address these concerns transparently and provide clarity based on our expertise and the provisions outlined in Washington’s surrogacy laws.


What if my circumstances change during the surrogacy process?

Washington law accounts for potential changes in circumstances. The surrogacy agreement can be terminated under certain conditions. “A party to a gestational surrogacy agreement may terminate the agreement, at any time before an embryo transfer, by giving notice of termination in a record to all other parties.”


Will I have any parental rights or obligations towards the child?


The laws are clear in establishing the intended parents as the legal parents of the child:

“On birth of a child conceived by assisted reproduction under a gestational surrogacy agreement, each intended parent is, by operation of law, a parent of the child.” (RCW 26.26A.740(1))


Can I be held liable for terminating the surrogacy agreement?


Washington law protects surrogates from penalties or liquidated damages for terminating the agreement, except in cases of fraud:

“Except in a case involving fraud, neither a woman acting as a gestational surrogate nor the surrogate’s spouse or former spouse, if any, is liable to the intended parent or parents for a penalty or liquidated damages, for terminating a gestational surrogacy agreement under this section.” (RCW 26.26A.765(3)).

Surrogacy for LGBT Families


At Abundant Beginnings Co., we believe in providing equal opportunities for all individuals who wish to become surrogates, regardless of the intended parents’ sexual orientation or marital status. Washington’s inclusive surrogacy laws ensure that surrogates can work with LGBT intended parents without any discrimination.

As a surrogate, you may have the opportunity to work with same-sex couples, single parents, or other configurations of intended parents from the LGBTQ+ community. Our agency is committed to ensuring that every surrogacy journey is treated with the utmost professionalism, sensitivity, and respect for the unique circumstances involved.

We understand that working with LGBT intended parents may raise additional considerations or concerns for some surrogates. Our experienced team is well-equipped to address these concerns and provide guidance throughout the process, ensuring that your rights and well-being are always protected.

Regardless of the intended parents’ sexual orientation or marital status, Washington’s surrogacy laws establish clear guidelines for the surrogacy agreement and the establishment of legal parentage. The laws refer to “intended parent” or “intended parents” without any restrictions based on gender, sexual orientation, or marital status (RCW 26.26A.710(1)(d)).

As a surrogate working with Abundant Beginnings Co., you can feel confident that your decision to help create a family will be respected and supported, regardless of the intended parents’ background or circumstances. Our surrogates are given a choice as to whom they would like to assist.  They may be presented with one or a few profiles, and the surrogate is given a choice as to who feels like a good fit for her and her family.  We are here to ensure that every surrogacy journey is a positive and rewarding experience for all parties involved.

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