State-by-State Surrogacy Laws: Surrogacy in Virginia
Virginia has complex laws with respect to surrogacy as outlined in the Status of Children of Assisted Conception Act. Intended Parents who follow the stipulations included in the Act must meet a host of qualifications and restrictions including that they be married or be a single individual (unmarried partnerships do not qualify), that the surrogacy journey is altruistic (non-compensated except for basic living/medical expenses), and undergo an arduous process including a home study and court hearing. Nearly all Intended Parents using Virginia-based surrogates will choose to go the alternative route of waiting until after the birth of their child(ren) to procure a birth certificate amendment via a Surrogate Consent and Report form.
Pre-birth and post birth orders which are available in most other states are unavailable in Virginia. Intended Parents must either use the court-approved process as outlined in the Status of Children of Assisted Conception Act or seek to amend their child’s birth certificate 3 days postpartum. The later process is also arduous and must include evidence of the Intended Parents legal custody of the implanted embryo (as certified by a physician).
Surrogates may not receive compensation by statute. Any contracts that include money paid to the surrogate beyond the reimbursement of medical costs and living expenses are considered void and enforceable. Because parentage in Virginia is tied to surrogacy contracts which are required documentation regardless of which route is taken in terms of establishing the Intended Parent(s)’ rights to their own child(ren), compensated surrogacy is not permitted in Virginia. This means all women in the state wishing to be surrogates must do so on an altruistic-only basis.
You must speak to a qualified attorney to understand the full scope of Virginia’s surrogacy regulations and restrictions. If you need help finding an attorney, you can use Surrogacy Place’s attorney directory as a starting place. Intended Parent(s) that are residents of Virginia may wish to match with a surrogate in a more surrogacy-friendly state. An attorney can discuss your options with you.
Is compensated surrogacy allowed in Virginia?
No. There are very clear guidelines on what a surrogate can receive for her services by statute. This includes basic pregnancy/medical/living costs. It does not include lost wages or many other typical reimbursements as allowed in other states. The specific language used is “the costs of the performance of assisted conception, the costs of prenatal maternal health care, the costs of maternal and child health care for a reasonable postpartum period, the reasonable costs for medications and maternity clothes, and any additional and reasonable costs for housing and other living expenses attributable to the pregnancy.”
Can Intended Parents and surrogates do a surrogacy journey without an agency in Virginia?
Yes and Virginia specifically forbids surrogacy agencies from matching in the state via statue (§ 20-156). This means all journeys in Virginia must be done independently without an agency.
Who can become an Intended Parent in Virginia?
In Virginia, any woman who has been advised by their doctor that they cannot carry a pregnancy safely and has a legitimate medical reason for surrogacy, or single/gay men is able to consider surrogacy as an option to start or grow a family. Do note the process for establishing parentage is burdensome and surrogacy is limited to compensation-less journeys in Virginia. As a result, surrogacy is less frequently practiced in Virginia. It is not considered a “surrogacy-friendly” state because of the number of restrictions.
If you want to become a surrogate in Virginia, you should understand that your journey must be done altruistically. This means you will not get paid for your time and the inherent risks to your health that all pregnancies entails. Many surrogates have done altruistic journeys and for some it’s a calling. If that’s you, read on to learn more about the medical and lifestyle requirements.
Surrogacy Place put together a short quiz highlighting many of the basic requirements. Take it to learn more.
The general requirements include:
- You are between 21-42 in age, though exact age requirements may vary by doctor/clinic.
- You do not have a history of any major pregnancy complications including preeclampsia, postpartum depression, and placental abruption/previa.
- You have carried/birthed at least one biological child of your own that you are actively raising or have raised.
- You live in a house free of toxins/hazards.
- You will take all medications and hormones exactly as prescribed.
- You have a BMI in healthy range (e.g. 18-32) and have perfect overall health.
- You are a non-smoker and do not use recreational drugs/are willing to avoid alcohol while pregnant.
If you qualify and are committed to doing an altruistic journey, you can begin matching with Intended Parents.
Surrogacy Place offers surrogates the opportunity to self-match, no agency needed!
After a surrogate matches with Intended Parent(s), she will be officially vetted by the Intended Parent(s)’s fertility clinic. Once a clinic has cleared her, surrogacy contracts are fully negotiated, drafted, and finalized. If all parties agree on terms, including very strict rules on acceptable reimbursements, an embryo transfer will be scheduled.
For additional requirements, we have this checklist.
Finding a Surrogate / Finding an Intended Parent
At SurrogacyPlace.com, we designed our platform to facilitate surrogates and Intended Parents finding each other based on preferences. If you’re looking for carriers or Intended Parents in Virginia, for example, you can search by location.
Surrogacy Place’s independent surrogacy matching site is always available at no cost for surrogates. If you’re a surrogate, sign up for free at any time. Intended Parents will pay a small access fee to get started. Create your Surrogacy Place profile when you’re ready.
What are some of the advantages of doing an independent journey?
In Virginia, agencies are not allowed to receive compensation for matching and providing surrogacy services. All journeys in Virginia are done on a self-managed (independent) basis.
In other states, however, many Intended Parents and surrogates have a choice and many deliberately choose to do their journeys without an agency. There are many reasons why, including the cost savings, having a bad previous experience with an agency, the long agency waitlists, and having a direct closer relationship vs. treating surrogacy as a business transaction.
Keep in mind only Reproductive Endocrinologists and licensed attorneys are able to evaluate a suitable match. Agencies can never warrant a surrogate or an Intended Parent is medically or otherwise qualified to undergo a surrogacy journey.
Curious about independent journeys? Here are some of the most-cited reasons surrogates tend to prefer independent journeys.
How much will surrogacy cost? For information on the some of the various costs Intended Parents pay for surrogacy, please read our “how much does surrogacy generally cost” overview. Keep in mind that in Virginia surrogacy compensation is severely restricted and limited to very specific reimbursements of expenses.
Looking for information about surrogacy in less restrictive states? Visit our surrogacy-in-each-state resources hub.